For Immediate Release

“Breaking Ground with Bill T. Jones”, a Community Dialogue Series on February 17 at 7:30pm at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse, Bill T. Jones Moderates Lincoln’s Legacy In Harlem

Harlem’s radical cultural, political, social and aesthetic transformations since the beginning of the last century have been the subject of ongoing analysis and documentation. But what was the area like when Abraham Lincoln passed through New York City to deliver his famous address at Cooper Union on February 27, 1860? How did Lincoln’s politics shape Harlem today?


Lincoln’s Legacy in Harlem: A historical look at Harlem and the politics of Abraham Lincoln is the subject of the upcoming “Breaking Ground with Bill T. Jones” with the choreographer leading a discussion by a panel of scholars and historians. Co-presented by the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and Harlem Stage, the talk takes place on February 17, at 7:30pm at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse.

Jones’s choice of subject for this fifth “Breaking Ground” discussion is an extension of his current choreographic exploration of Lincoln, “Fondly Do We Hope…Fervently Do We Pray,” a major new work being created to celebrate Lincoln’s bicentennial. Among the subjects and questions scheduled for examination during the February 17 discussion are: What was Harlem like in the mid-19th century? How did Lincoln’s politics–and the aftermath of his assassination–shape the future of Harlem?

With lead sponsorship by Chase, a long-time supporter of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, “Breaking Ground” was created to explore issues of cultural identity, diversity, ethnicity, public policy, and Harlem’s changing international significance.

Where To Go

The Harlem Stage Gatehouse is located at 150 Convent Avenue (at West 135th Street). Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at or by calling 212-281-9240 x19.

Background Info

Bill T. Jones, the co-founder and artistic director of the Harlem-based Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, has received almost every major award in the arts including the 2007 Tony Award for his choreography in “Spring Awakening,” the 2005 Wexner Prize, the 2005 Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement, a 2005 Harlem Renaissance Award, the 2003 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize and a MacArthur “Genius” Award in 1994. Most recently, he received the 2008 Lewis Rudin Award for Civic Leadership. The “Breaking Ground” series is the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company’s new public program, extending Jones’s civic dialogues to serve the Harlem community. Since its inception in 1983, Harlem Stage/Aaron Davis Hall, Inc. has earned national and international reputation for its world-class programming and commissioning of new works. Harlem Stage’s primary mission is to support and present the development of new work and the work of emerging artists, and to connect these stimulating new programs to its community. Harlem Stage has hosted such legendary artists as Harry Belafonte, Max Roach, Bill Cosby, Abbey Lincoln, Maya Angelou, and Tito Puente. On October 24, 2006 Harlem Stage opened its new facility, the Harlem Stage Gatehouse, a historically landmarked building recently awarded the Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award. The Harlem Stage Partners program strengthens Harlem Stage’s long history of partnerships with significant artists and organizations co-presenting projects that exemplify the mission of the organization. The Harlem Stage Partners program is supported, in part, by Deutsche Bank and through public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.


This series is made possible by Chase. Chase has been engaged in the local Harlem community for nearly a century. With more than 3,000 bank branches across the country, Chase is a strong community partner investing in education, arts and culture, and economic development programs that allow people and communities to thrive.
Photo by Gene Pittman.