Darrell Jones

Darrell Jones has performed in the United States and abroad with a variety of choreographers and dance companies such as Urban Bush Women, Ronald K. Brown and Min Tanaka.  He continues to have long-term collaborative relationships with Bebe Miller Company and Ralph Lemon. Along with performing, Darrell continues to choreograph and teach.

He has collaborated with other choreographers (Paige Cunningham, Lisa Gonzales, Damon Green, Angie Hauser, JSun Howard, Kirstie Simpson, Jeremy Wade), writers (Cheryl Boyce-Taylor), musicians (Jessie Mano, Brian Schuler, Justin Mitchell) and designers (Mawish Syed) in dance films, documentations, and interactive multimedia installations.

In addition to his collaborative work, he continues to work in solo forms and has choreographed for professional and student ensembles (The Seldoms, University of Colorado, University of Illinois, and Wesleyan University).

Darrell has received choreographic fellowships from MANCC (Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography), CDF (Chicago Dancemakers Forum) and has additionally been a recipient of the Wesleyan University Creative Campus Fellow (2017), MAP Fund (2017), Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, and Foundation for Contemporary Artists (2019).

Darrell is a two-time Bessie Award recipient for his collaborative work with Bebe Miller Company (Landing Place) and his most recent research into (e)feminized ritual performance (Hoo-Ha).

For the past ten years, his 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, Darrell seeks to excavate how individuals accumulate identity and mirror culture through movement.

He has taught workshops and master classes in dance technique and improvisational processes throughout the United States; SFDI (Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation), Bates Dance Festival, J.I.M.  (Joy in Movement), Movement Research Melt, and Texas Dance Improvisation Festival, and in other countries such as South Africa, UK, Japan, and South Korea.

Darrell is presently a tenured faculty member at The Dance Center of Columbia College in Chicago where he teaches classes in physical practice, performance, and improvisational techniques.

Darrell’s present research revolves around training counter rituals aimed at releasing enculturated oppressions.

FSU Alumnus Choreographic Fellow | 2020 - 2021


Darrell Jones is currently MANCC’s year-long FSU Alumnus Fellow, furthering his archival research around the work of his late father, Dr. William R. Jones, who was an internationally recognized and celebrated activist, scholar, philosopher, theologian, and educator. The first Director of the Black Studies program at FSU, Dr. Jones dedicated his long career to the analysis and methods of oppression, and to working with others in their anti-oppression initiatives. A fundamental part of his work was the exploration of religious humanism and liberation theology.

William’s line of research has been highly influential in the development of Darrell’s thinking as an artist. As William’s tools were often words and speech, Darrell's are cellular, embodied, and expressed mainly in the physical and three-dimensional world. Through his own research of experimenting and analyzing oppression as it lives in the body, Darrell has sought to excavate how individuals accumulate identity and mirror culture through movement. His materials have explored the imprint of societal oppression on bodies around the intersections of race and gender with tactics of employing rigorous tasks in the studio to discover choreographic material that arises when the body is pushed to the edges.

While at MANCC, Darrell continues to work through these physical lines of inquiry, while also navigating his father’s office space, which houses an extensive archive encompassing authored books and articles, a large selection of research books, taped lectures, and 35 years of teaching materials around mechanisms of oppression and the intersectionality of race, gender, and class. During his first month in residence, he met with Katie McCormick, Associate Dean of Libraries for Special Collections and Archives at FSU, and Rory Grennan, FSU Manuscripts Archivist, to continue discussions surrounding this vast archive. Darrell maintains a personal interest in cataloging these materials as a creative tool with applications in movement research and as a model in embodied archival processes. 

A longtime collaborator with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar (Urban Bush Women), Bebe Miller (Bebe Miller Dance Company), and Ralph Lemon, Darrell is currently involved in several gatherings around ‘living’ archives. The process of archiving his father’s work with his own creative applications is concurrent with these conversations around choreographic archival materials.

  • Darrell Jones works with online material to further <em>CLUTCH!</em>
  • Jones engages in his daily movement practice
  • Choreographic prompts for <em>CLUTCH!</em>
  • Choreographic prompts for <em>CLUTCH!</em>
  • Choreographic prompts for <em>CLUTCH!</em>
  • Jones works through movement material in the studio

FSU Alumnus Choreographic Fellow | Dec 3- 14, 2012 I March 3-9, 2013

Hoo-Ha (for your eyes only)

While on sabbatical from Dance Center of Columbia College, Jones spent multiple weeks at MANCC working alone, with students, and with his cast of Chicago-based performers, organizing a new evening length work, Hoo-Ha.  His investigations, initially rooted in voguing, continue to evolve toward the subversive energy that this dance form imparts. At MANCC, Jones examined his own physical and sonic choices surrounding this form of feminized ritual performance and the function it serves for the individual/community. “It’s about how you attack the movement. The severity with which you use your body is what is emphasized. The body is almost used like a weapon.”
New York-based playwright, director and dramaturg Talvin Wilks joined Jones to assist in the creation of the piece.  Wilks spoke to FSU students, faculty and visiting artists during a MANCC class about the emerging field of dance dramaturgy.  Jones met with Ethnomusicology graduate student, Carlos Odria to examine the genderization of sound in the body and the role that sound will play in the new work.  The residency culminated in a Participant-Observer Rehearsal attended by students and faculty across campus in which Jones exposed the dramaturg/choreographer experience and solicited feedback on the evolving work.

While Hoo-Ha is not about the recent loss of his prestigious father and founder of the Black Studies Program at FSU, Dr. William Jones, Jones admits his time spent this year in Tallahassee and at MANCC, as well as his current work with Ralph Lemon and Bebe Miller provided influential lenses in his working process.

Hoo-Ha premiered at Danspace Project May 23-25, 2013.

  • Jones in rehearsal for <i>Hoo-Ha (for your eyes only)</i>
  • Darrell Jones, J' Sun Howard and Damon Green rehearse <i>Hoo-Ha (for your eyes only)</i>.
  • Jones and Green in rehearsal for <i>Hoo-Ha (for your eyes only)</i>
  • Jones, Howard and Green share material during an Observer Participant Rehearsal.
  • Jones and Green share material during an Observer Participant Rehearsal.
  • Jones with Ethnomusicologist, Carlos Odria
  • Darrell Jones shares material during an Observer Participant Rehearsal.
  • Darrell Jones leads an Observer Participant Rehearsal.
  • Dance Dramaturg Talvin Wilks collaborates with Jones.
  • Jones, Green and Wilks discuss material with Observer Participant Rehearsal attendees.
  • Talvin Wilks discusses dramaturgy at MANCC Class entrypoint.
Collaborators in residence: J'sun Howard, Damon Green [performers], Talvin Wilks [dramaturg]. Slideshow photos by Chris Cameron

Archive Residency
2020 - 21

Emily Johnson


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