Joyce Foundation Awardee


Bill T. Jones with Ravinia Festival Association


Ravinia Festival

World renowned choreographer and dancer Bill T. Jones received a Joyce Award in support of his partnership with the Ravinia Festival to create a new dance-theater piece inspired by president Abraham Lincoln. The new work, titled Fondly Do We Hope ... Fervently Do We Pray, premiered on Ravinia’s stage in September 2009 at the culmination of Mystic Chords of Memory, a year-long celebration of the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. Following the Ravinia premiere, the piece went on tour across the country.

Based on the words of Lincoln himself as well as Bible passages and poetry, a live narrator introduces the story and personalities of historical figures, including Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln, as well as the stories of ordinary men and women dealing with slavery and race at various times throughout American history.


World renowned choreographer and dancer Bill T. Jones received a Joyce Award in support of his partnership with the Ravinia Festival to create a new dance-theater piece inspired by president Abraham Lincoln. The new work, titled Fondly Do We Hope ... Fervently Do We Pray, premiered on Ravinia’s stage in September 2009 at the culmination of Mystic Chords of Memory, a year-long celebration of the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. Following the Ravinia premiere, the piece went on tour across the country.

Based on the words of Lincoln himself as well as Bible passages and poetry, a live narrator introduces the story and personalities of historical figures, including Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln, as well as the stories of ordinary men and women dealing with slavery and race at various times throughout American history.

Jones co-founded the Harlem-based Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, recognized as one of the most innovative and powerful forces in the modern dance world. The 10-member company has performed worldwide in over 200 cities in 30 countries. Jones is the recipient of countless awards and honors and has created more than 100 works for his own company, as well as choreographed works for numerous productions. In 2007, he received a Tony Award and the Obie Award for Best Choreography for the Broadway production Spring Awakening. He received a Kennedy Center Award in 2011.

The documentary film A Good Man followed Jones and his collaboration with dancers, historians and musicians to create Fondly Do We Hope ... Fervently Do We Pray, Watch the trailer below.


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