"We didn't want you preoccupied by real identities." | Arts

"We didn't want you preoccupied by real identities."



It was the only reason associate artistic director Janet Wong mentioned in a March post-show talkback in Durham when asked why Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company's production of Chapel/Chapter gave the gruesome details of real-life murder victims -- while it changed or deleted all mention of their names on stage.

Though the piece was built on the murders of the Otero Family in Kansas and Nixzmary Brown in New York City, the company erased the victims' identities -- from the show on stage, the program notes and discussion about the work.

Our March review inquired into the ethics of a dance work that aestheticized their murders -- while performing identity theft on the victims themselves.

Particularly given the graphic testimony in the piece's script, how exactly were the victims' names supposed to "preoccupy" us? Did the choice to blank them out attempt to diagnose a problem already in place -- or merely create a new problem?

One last question: Did it actually help the dance?

Here's the link to our March 26 review.

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