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It is a special treat in modern dance performance when it is evident how intensely a choreographer has researched the event, topic or idea that has inspired their work.  For "Serenade/The Proposition," one in a triptych of works about Abraham Lincoln, Bill T. Jones read books, speeches, anything to get into the mind of this historical figure.  Using costumes (referencing 19th century clothing), text, and video projected onto a gorgeous set of white pillars by Bjorn Amelan, the audience is transported into the world the dancers inhabit onstage.  Best of all is the movement itself, which explodes outward from a central point and coalesces again so fluidly that you find yourself wondering if the explosion even happened at all or if you imagined it.  These moments of chaos are punctuated by sudden freezes, leaving one dancer still moving, defying gravity as she balances on one leg.  Then, it is the completion of her movement that sets everyone into motion once more.  Bill T. has a way of using repetition so effectively, we glean very specific images that conjure our own ideas about history, Lincoln, the lives of soldiers and war.  The spoken words throughout the piece stick with us as well ("It can be said," speaks narrator Jamyl Dobson, "that this history is a person, is a woman...").  The text also includes personal narratives from Bill himself, as well as his dancers, which serves to bring "this history" into the present.


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