Arts & Entertainment

Legendary Dance Company to Perform at UNCG

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Teresa Dale
  Staff Writer

On Friday Feb 3, The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company will be performing at 8 p.m. in the UNCG Aycock Auditorium. The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company has performed worldwide in over 200 cities, in 40 different countries, and on every major continent. They are recognized as one of the most influential and groundbreaking forces in the dance and theater world.

The award-winning Dance Company was born out of an eleven-year collaboration between founders, Bill T. Jones, and the late Arnie Zane. Their productions are highly artistic and often deal with issues of racism, sexism, religion, and all types of social commentary. The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company is vastly stylistic in their approach to movement, visual imagery, voice and stagecraft. Their performances often include musically-driven works as well as works using an assortment of texts.

Bill T. Jones and his late collaborator, Arnie Zane, got their start when they formed a partnership as a modern dance duo with the American Dance Asylum. They successfully toured with this ensemble internationally for two years.

The two friends used their differences in physical appearance to create an image that was fascinating in its peculiarity and successful in its artistic approach. Zane was short, white and moved with high energy. Jones was tall, black and moved with profuse grace. Their styles fused together to create a performance that redefined the duet.

After touring, the two formed the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company in 1982. Over the years, The Company has garnered much admiration for its own brand of postmodern dance, known for energetic dances set to narrative texts and postmodern music. The Company also has a reputation for its intensely collaborative method of creation which has included a variety of diverse artists such as Keith Haring, Cassandra Wilson, The Orion String Quartet, and many others.

After his partner’s death, Jones contributed to an exhibition of Arnie Zane’s photography in 1999. He also choreographed a piece called “Absence,” in his honor. The work has been described as “a shimmering, ecstatic quality that was euphoric and almost unbearably moving.”  In an interview with Harvard Business Review, Jones stated “Then Arnie, when he was dying, he said to me, ‘Why don’t you just let the company go and do your solo thing?’ and I decided, No, this is our child, so I will do what I have to do and find the collaborators to keep it going.”

Now in its 33rd year, The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company is a distinguished dance and theater company that has changed the face of American dance. Based in Harlem, New York, the Dance Company has become an extremely successful and internationally recognized establishment.

Jones has become somewhat of a legend in the world of dance, as he is a talented director and choreographer who has received numerous of awards, including the MacArthur “Genius” Award, the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors and two Tony Awards. He has received honorary doctorates from the Juilliard School, Yale University, Art Institute of Chicago, Bard College and several others. He has also received awards for his work on Broadway, and was even featured in HBO’s documentary series “Masterclass.” Bill T. Jones is currently the Artistic Director of New York Lives Arts, and is considered by some to be one of the world’s most intelligent dancemakers and performers.

The appearance of Bill T. Jones/ Arnie Zane Dance Company on campus is an awesome opportunity for all UNCG students. It should be an enormously entertaining performance, even if you’re not too interested in dance as art. They are here as a part of the University of Performing Arts Series.  Tickets are available for purchase both online at https://vpa.uncg.edu/upas/jones and at the door.

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