Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company

Bill T Jones is wonderful! Erik and I went to see the Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company perform tonight, thanks to a recommendation from our dear Ying. I had no idea what to expect; I only knew that they did modern dance and that the music would not be unbearable because they were playing Beethoven and Mendelssohn. I think as I get more exposure to modern dance I find that even though the movements may look very similar, each choreographer really puts a different stamp on them. The last dance group I saw was Mark Morris, and his choreography is very accessible. Bill T Jones is a little strange and eccentric compared to Morris, but I would say that he really makes you see the dancing and the music in a different way. It’s not as easy to just view the whole group as one unit; there are fewer dancers but they are doing more things, and the things don’t all go together. After the performance Jones, his set director, the dancers and the musicians came out for a discussion, and someone asked about this aspect of his choreography. He said (and I may be paraphrasing badly) that he would like the audience to view the dance sort of as a three dimensional work, like a sculpture; you can’t just stand there and look at it and get the whole idea, but you have to walk around it and look at it up and down, because it’s different every time you take a different look. He seems very intelligent and articulate, but also very no-nonsense, and I am very grateful we had the chance to hear him speak and answer questions. The last piece the group performed was apparently one of their signature pieces, and it was a real joy. The music was spirited and happy, as Mendelssohn usually is, and the last movement ended on a female dancer (in my opinion and apparently in others’ as well the most expressive and beautiful dancer in the company) being thrown into the air in a gesture of pure exuberance. It was an actively delightful way to end the program, and you could hear the audience kind of ‘ah’ in appreciation.

Something else I liked about this dance company was its appearance, in that the dancers are different ethnicities and nationalities, and different sizes (dancers are never fat, but some of them were pretty big as dancers go), and I felt that the choreography really brought out the differences in their styles. That doesn’t always happen; usually individual styles don’t come out as much except by accident.

Thank you Ying! 🙂 *kiss kiss*

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at]