“Political and moral concerns . . . [combined] with choreographic ingenuity and theatrical flair.”
—New York Times
In the hands of choreographer Bill T. Jones, dance becomes an extraordinary tool for probing life’s big questions and journeying toward understanding. In Blind Date, a new evening-length work, he explores patriotism, honor, sacrifice, and service to a cause larger than oneself. The technically stunning 10-member Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company performs in a land¬scape of primary colors with live musical accompaniment by Akim “Funk Buddha” Ndlovu at 8 pm Friday, March 10, at Northrop Auditorium. As if on a blind date, wisdom and eloquence meet dumbed-down fundamentalism in this explosive meditation on opposing forces and contrasting beliefs. Presented by the Walker Art Center and Northrop Dance Season.
Northrop Auditorium is located on the East Bank campus, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
Bill T. Jones
(Artistic Director/Choreographer) a 1994 recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, began his dance training at the State University of New York at Binghamton (SUNY), where he studied classical ballet and modern dance. Before forming Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company (then called Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane & Company) in 1982, Jones choreographed and performed nationally and internationally as a soloist and duet company with his late partner Arnie Zane.
In addition to creating more than 50 works for his own company, Jones has received many commissions to create dances for modern and ballet companies. In 1995, he directed and performed in a collaborative work with Toni Morrison and Max Roach, Degga, at Alice Tully Hall, commissioned by Lincoln Center’s Serious Fun Festival. His collaboration with Jessye Norman, How! Do! We! Do! premiered at New York’s City Center in 1999. Television credits for Jones’ work include Fever Swamp, Untitled, and Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin/The Promised Land. Still/Here was co-directed for television by Bill T. Jones and Gretchen Bender and aired nationally and internationally. The making of Still/Here was also the subject of a documentary by Bill Moyers and David Grubin entitled Bill T. Jones: ‘Still/Here’with Bill Moyers which premiered on PBS in 1997. Jones’ work was profiled in the Blackside documentary entitled I’ll Make Me a World: A Century of African-American Arts, which aired in 1999.
In addition to the MacArthur Fellowship, Jones has received several other prestigious awards. In 1979, Jones was granted the Creative Artists Public Service Award in Choreography, and in 1980, 1981 and 1982, he was the recipient of Choreographic Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1986, Jones and Zane were awarded a New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Award for the Joyce Theater season, and in 1989 and 2001, Jones was awarded two more “Bessies” for his work, D-Man in the Waters (1989), The Table Project and The Breathing Show (2001). In 1993, Jones was presented with the Dance Magazine Award, and in 2000, The Dance Heritage Coalition named him “An Irreplaceable Dance Treasure.” In 2003, he received the prestigious Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize. He was also recently honored with the 2005 Wexner Prize, and the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for his lifetime contribution to dance.
Jones’ memoirs, Last Night on Earth, were published by Pantheon Books in 1995. An in-depth look at the work of Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane can be found in Body Against Body: The Dance and Other Collaborations of Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane, published in 1989 by Station Hill Press. Hyperion Books published Dance, a children’s book written by Jones and photographer Susan Kuklin, in 1998. He contributed to Continuous Replay: The Photography of Arnie Zane, published by MIT Press in 1999.
(Founder, 1948-1988) was a native New Yorker born in the Bronx and educated at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton. In 1971, Arnie Zane and Bill T. Jones began their long collaboration in choreography and in 1973 formed the American Dance Asylum in Binghamton with Lois Welk. Zane’s first recognition in the arts came as a photographer when he received a Creative Artists Public Service (CAPS) Fellowship in 1973. Zane was the recipient of a second CAPS Fellowship in 1981 for choreography, as well as two Choreographic Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1983 and 1984). In 1980, Zane was co-recipient, with Jones, of the German Critics Award for his work, Blauvelt Mountain. Rotary Action, a duet with Jones, was filmed for television, co-produced by WGBH-TV Boston and Channel 4 in London.
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater commissioned a new work from Zane and Jones, How to Walk an Elephant, which premiered at Wolftrap in August 1985. Zane (along with Jones) received a 1985-1986 New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Award for Choreographer/Creator. Continuous Replay: The Photography of Arnie Zane was published by MIT Press in April 1999.
Talking Dance: The World of Ideas/The War of Ideas
Thursday, March 9, 7:30 pm FREE
William and Nadine McGuire Theater
Reservations: 612.375.7600; tickets available from 6 pm at the Hennepin Lobby desk.
Join Bill T. Jones and Walker senior curator Philip Bither for a look at the creation of Jones’ new work, Blind Date, and an informal and insightful discussion about patriotism, idealism, and the realities of making art in post–9/11 America.
Friday, March 10, 7:15 pm
Free admission with performance ticket
A member of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company offers program insights and answers audience questions in a free forum preceding the evening’s program in Studio 4 (lower level) under the Northrop stage. Limited seating is available.
Tickets to Blind Date are $49, $39, $34, $30 ($41.50, $33, $29, $26 Walker members) and are available by contacting Northrop Auditorium at 612.624.2345 or www.northrop.umn.edu.