The United States is dotted with cities readying themselves for performances by the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company this coming year, beginning in Montclair, NJ, with Montclair State University’s semester-long celebration of the Jones/Zane Company. In addition to company performances, including the world premiere of “A Quarreling Pair,” the Montclair events comprise an exploration of Jones’s choreography as well as the work and contributions of his close collaborators.
The Jones/Zane Company’s four-month residency at Montclair State University opens September 19 with “Acts of Engagement: Artist Special Forces,” a student address to be delivered by Jones on the rewards and difficulties of creating work that challenges audience and critical expectations. On September 26, the Jones/Zane Company’s composer-in-residence Daniel Bernard Roumain will lead a workshop and discussion examining the complex relationship between composer and choreographer; and on October 10, there will be a presentation and talk by the sculptor Bjorn Amelan about his own work and his collaborations with Jones.
“Blind Date,” Jones’s penetrating examination of patriotism, which had its world premiere on the stage of the Montclair State University’s Alexander Kasser Theater in October 2005, will return to the Kasser on October 25. On October 27, the company will present “As I Was Saying,” an essentially solo work performed by Jones that recombines works from the past and present repertory including “With the Good Lord;” a reshaping of Jones’s 1983 talking solo “21,” now called “22;” and “Chaconne,” among others.
A highlight of the Montclair season, the world premiere of Jones’s “A Quarreling Pair” takes place November 30, December 1 and December 2. “A Quarreling Pair” is the result of Bill T. Jones’s 15-year fascination with Jane Bowles’s four-page puppet play of the same name. In his hour-long production, Jones takes this apparently simple story of two sisters with polar opposite views of the world as a point of departure for a multi- layered theatrical exploration of what happens to a relationship lived in isolation. A combination of choreography, text, and an original score, the work creates a tension between the uniquely creative means Jones employs to explore a play that warns of the emotional suffocation and spiritual inertia resulting from a life lived without imagination and curiosity.
In between the myriad events at Montclair and the opening of a series of talks, “Breaking Ground,” at Harlem Stage’s The Gatehouse on October 9, the Jones/Zane Company will be seen on tour throughout the United States. During the fall, winter and spring, the company has performances scheduled in 17 American cities covering the east and west, north and south. The Company makes its Taiwanese debut in Taipei, September 13-16 and performs in Canada in April 2008.
Anselm Kiefer has invited Bill to create “Walking the Line” as part of the month-long series of events the German painter will curate at the Louvre, enitled Frontier. Jones will perform the solo along the 100-meter perspective stretching from the steps of the Winged Victory of Samothrace to the Renaissance Arch, which frames Michelangelo’s sculptures, “The Slaves.” Jones will be accompanied by the Tibetan singer Yungchen Lhamo and the French percussionist Florent Jodelet.