Darrell Jones

Performer, Movement Researcher, Teaching Artist
Born in Washington, D.C.
Lives in Chicago, IL

Photo by Dan Merlo.

My bank account is currently in the black. It feels auspicious as I write this end report and thank you to the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. In addition to getting out of the red I also have the intention to stretch out the benefits of this award continuing to add and subtract from the fund. My hope is to keep it alive as a renewable resource…this unrestricted grant gave me the privilege of using it without using it up.


Darrell Jones's artistic research has found its central focus through a conversation between his postmodern training and the voguing aesthetic. Through years of experimenting and analyzing oppression as it lives in the body, Jones seeks to excavate how individuals accumulate identity and mirror culture through movement.

Jones has performed in the United States and abroad with choreographers and dance companies including Ronald K. Brown, Kokuma, Min Tanaka, and Urban Bush Women. He maintains long-term collaborative relationships with Bebe Miller Company and Ralph Lemon, and has collaborated in dance films, documentations and interactive multimedia installations with choreographers Paige Cunningham, Lisa Gonzales, Damon Green, Angie Hauser, JSun Howard, Kirstie Simpson, and Jeremy Wade; writer Cheryl Boyce-Taylor; musicians Jessie Mano, Justin Mitchell, and Brian Schuler; and designer Mawish Syed. In addition to his collaborative work, Jones has choreographed for professional companies such as The Seldoms, and student ensembles at the University of Colorado, Univeristy of Illinois, and Wesleyan University.

Prior to his FCA support, Jones received choreographic fellowships from Chicago Dancemakers Forum, MANCC, MAP Fund, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, and a Creative Campus Fellowship from Wesleyan University. He has taught workshops and master classes in dance technique and improvisational processes nationally at the Bates Dance Festival, Lewiston, Maine; The JIM, Chicago; MELT at Movement Research, New York; Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation, Seattle; Texas Dance Improvisation Festival, Denton, TX; and abroad in Japan, Korea, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

Jones is a two-time Bessie Award recipient for his collaborative work with Bebe Miller Company, Landing/Place (2005), and his most recent research into (e)feminized ritual performance, Hoo-Ha (2013). He is a tenured faculty member at The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago where he teaches classes in physical practice, performance and improvisational techniques. He holds an M.F.A. in Dance from Florida State University.

Artist Statement

My practice has often revolved around issues of liberation. Through years of experimenting and analyzing oppression as it lives in the body, I've sought to excavate how individuals accumulate identity and mirror culture through movement.

My father, Dr. William R. Jones, was a professor and theorist whose work focused on mechanisms of oppression and liberation. His line of research was highly influential in the development of my thinking and development as an artist. As his tools were often words and speech, mine are cellular, embodied, expressed mainly in the physical and three-dimensional world.

My materials have explored the imprint of societal oppression on bodies around the intersections of race and gender. I employ rigorous tasks in the studio to discover choreographic material that arises when the body is pushed to the edges.

December 2018