CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company returns to UI with two programs
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company will present
two different programs of Jones' recent choreography at 8 p.m. Friday and
Saturday, March 14 and 15, in Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa
campus. The performances are part of Hancher's 1996-97 Innovation Afoot series.
Both programs explore the power of the human voice -- both speaking and singing
-- as an inspiration for dance. On March 14 Jones and his 10 dancers will
perform "After Black Room" (1993), performed to musical settings
of Omar Khayyam's Arabic poetry composed by Sarah Plant, the music director
of the Oscar-nominated film "Eat Drink Man Woman"
Also on the March 14 program are "Sur La Place" (1996), a trio
with music and lyrics by the popular French songwriter Jacques Brel; and "Ursonate"
(1996), danced to a vocal but wordless "sound poem" composed in
1928 by German Dadaist Kurt Schwitters and performed by Canadian composer
and conductor Christopher Butterfield.
The March 15 program features poetry written and read by Dylan Thomas in
"Ballad" (1995); "Blue Phrase" (1996) with music by legendary
jazz reedman Eric Dolphy; "New Duet" (1995), featuring folk music
of Madagascar, as well as compositions by John Oswald and Laurel McDonald;
and "Love Re-Defined" (1996), performed to music and lyrics written
and performed by Daniel Johnston.
Of working with the poetry read by Dylan Thomas, Jones says: "I got
all of his old recordings and realized that I was falling in love with his
story and this person who believed in poetry as a profound affirmation of
our humanity. He is a consummate musician when he reads, so my way into the
world of his poetry was through his rhythm and the musicality of the language."
Jones, who has not danced with his company in recent years, will perform
in several of the works on the March 14 and 15 programs. The company itself
has a new look and personality, featuring several new dancers who have replaced
long-time members who have departed or are on leave this spring.
In more than two decades of work Jones has established himself as one of
the most creative, provocative and controversial choreographers of contemporary
dance. The facts that Jones is black, gay and HIV-positive, and that he lost
partner Arnie Zane to AIDS, have inspired and informed much of his highly
theatrical, issue-oriented work.
Jones often tackles big issues with fearless honesty, as in his epic works
"The Last Supper At Uncle Tom's Cabin/The Promised Land," which
was partly commissioned by Hancher Auditorium and was broadcast on the PBS
"Great Performances" series, and "Still/Here" which received
its American premiere in Hancher.
"Still/Here," based on the experiences, observations and feelings
of people surviving with life-threatening illnesses, was broadcast nationwide
in a version designed especially for PBS. The creation of the work was the
subject of a recentBill Moyers public TV special, which included considerable
video shot in Iowa City at the premiere and at a "survival workshop"
in which Jones interacted with Iowans struggling with cancer, AIDS, cystic
fibrosis and other potentially terminal ailments.
After performing and choreographing internationally, Jones and Zane founded
the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in 1982. Jones has created more
than 40 works for the company and has also received commissions from the Alvin
Ailey American Dance Theatre, the Boston Ballet, the Berlin Opera Ballet and
other prominent companies. Jones became resident choreographer of France's
Lyon Opera Ballet in 1994.
Jones was honored with a 1994 MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship and
the 1993 Dance Magazine Award, and he has also received the Creative Artists
Public Service Award in Choreography, three choreographic fellowships from
the National Endowment for the Arts, the Dorothy B. Chandler Performing Arts
Award and two Bessie Awards.
His memoir, "Last Night on Earth," was published in 1995.
Tickets for the March 14 and 15 performances of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane
Dance Company are $27, $23 and $21. UI students and senior citizens qualify
for a 20-percent discount, with Zone 3 tickets available to UI students for
$10. Tickets for audience members 17 and younger are half price.
Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday
and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa, dial (319)
335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER.
Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American
Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills,
and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction.
People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should
dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office personnel
prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair access and
seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is equipped with
TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.
The Innovation Afoot series is supported by an anonymous donor, through the
University of Iowa Foundation.