When Bill T. Jones showed a working version of Blind Date at Aaron Davis Hall in June, he said he wanted to find “courage to start speaking, even as the ideas are forming.” Begun soon after last November’s national elections as an antidote to despair and passivity, the finished piece will premiere in Montclair, doubled in length and newly infused with humor.
“It’s a curious departure,” Jones says. “The ADH showing was heavy, dark. This lightens it a bit.” His idea of whimsy has a familiar sting: In one segment, a drone dressed in his Quack-a-Duck Burgers suit gets recruited into military life by a man in a sexier uniform—becoming, of course, a sitting duck. “I was haranguing the dancers about their consciousness, and Leah Cox said, ‘I don’t care about the discourse. I want to dance!’ She couldn’t deal with the whole canvas but was looking for the ‘perfect day,’ which to her was like a circle: Before you can worry about the day’s challenges, you’ve already met them.” Jones has made a solo for Cox, closing Blind Date on a human scale and a note of hope.