Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company reimagines classic works in “Body Against Body” Sept. 29-Oct. 1 at The Dance Center

Chicago, IL — The innovative and influential Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company (a program of New York Live Arts) opens The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago’s 2011–12 season with the repertory program “Body Against Body” Thursday, September 29–Saturday, October 1 at 8 p.m. at The Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.

“Body Against Body” returns to Jones’s roots in the avant-garde with a program that revives and reconsiders the challenging, groundbreaking works that launched Jones and the late Arnie Zane, his partner and collaborator of 17 years. Still some of the most significant examples of the postmodern aesthetic, these athletic pieces redefined the duet form and changed the face of American dance. Both conceptually and physically rigorous, the works take on new life through the diverse dancers of Jones’s company, providing a rare look at the origins of a widely acclaimed choreographer.

Program A (September 29 at 8 p.m., October 1 at 3 p.m.) includes Valley Cottage (1980), a duet unseen since its original performances by Jones and Zane in the early ’80s, with music by Helen Thorington; Continuous Replay (1977, 1991), originally choreographed as a solo by Zane in 1977 under the title Hand Dance and adapted as a group piece by Jones in 1991, featuring Dance Center Music Director Richard Woodbury performing a live electronic score; and Monkey Run Road (1979), one of the first Jones/Zane duets that reveals the duo’s early dance-making concerns, with music by Thorington. Program B (September 30 and October 1 at 8 p.m.) includes Duet X 2 (1982), a work rooted in conventional modern dance vocabulary and marked by demanding athletics, surprising shapes and changing relationships; Continuous Replay; and Blauvelt Mountain (1980, 2002), an eccentric duet that capitalizes on the disparities and specificities of contrasting body types, with music by Thorington. Both programs contain full nudity.


As part of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company’s residency, Jones will give a pre-performance talk on Thursday, September 29 at 7 p.m., and there will be a post-performance conversation with company dancers and collaborators on Friday, September 30, both free and open to ticket holders. Company Associate Artistic Director Janet Wong will lead a DanceMasters class Tuesday, September 27 at 6 p.m. at the Lou Conte Dance Studio in the Hubbard Street Dance Center, 1147 W. Jackson Blvd. DanceMasters is a series of community master classes presented by The Dance Center’s division of Community Outreach and Education (COE), in partnership with the Lou Conte Dance Studio at the Hubbard Street Dance Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Classes are for dancers at the intermediate level or higher.

Now in its 29th year, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company was born out of an 11-year collaboration between Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane (1948–1988). During this time, they redefined the duet form and foreshadowed issues of identity, form and social commentary that would change the face of American dance. The company has performed worldwide in more than 200 cities in 40 countries on every major continent and is recognized as one of the most innovative and powerful forces in the modern dance world.

In 2009, the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois commissioned the company to create a work honoring the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. The commission resulted in the company’s most ambitious work to date, Fondly Do We Hope…Fervently Do We Pray (2009), now the subject of a feature-length documentary by Kartemquin Films entitled A Good Man, which screens at Chicago’s Siskel Center September 23–29, during the company’s residency.

Co-Founder and Artistic Director Bill T. Jones, a multitalented artist, choreographer, dancer, theatre director and writer, has received major honors ranging from a 1994 MacArthur “Genius” Award to Kennedy Center Honors in 2010. He received a 2010 Tony Award for Best Choreography in the critically acclaimed musical FELA!, which he also co-conceived, co-wrote and directed. He also earned a 2007 Tony for Best Choreography in Spring Awakening and an Obie Award for the show’s 2006 off-Broadway run. In 2011, Jones was named Executive Artistic Director of New York Lives Arts, an artist-led, producing and presenting arts organization formed by a merger of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and Dance Theater Workshop. New York Live Arts strives to create a robust framework in support of the nation’s dance and movement-based artists.

The Dance Center’s presentation of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company is funded, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, named “Chicago’s Best Dance Theatre” by Chicago magazine and “Best Dance Venue” by the Chicago Reader, is the city’s leading presenter of contemporary dance, showcasing artists of regional, national and international significance. Programs of The Dance Center are supported, in part, Alphawood Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, Sara Lee Foundation, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Arts Midwest, The Boeing Company, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, The Irving Harris Foundation and New England Foundation for the Arts. Additional funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council. Special thanks to Friends of The Dance Center.

The Dance Center’s 2011–12 season continues with Pick Up Performance Co(s) (October 13–15), Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan (October 28–29 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance), Merce Cunningham Dance Company (co-presented with the Harris Theater November 18 and 19 at the Harris Theater), Margaret Jenkins Dance Company (February 9–11), Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak (February 23–25), The Space/Movement Project with Rachel Damon/Synapse Arts and with Erica Mott (March 8–10) and Ballet Hispanico (March 22–24).

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company appears Thursday–Saturday, September 29–October 1 at The Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Avenue. Performances of Program A are Thursday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m.; Program B takes place Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Single tickets are $35–40; subscribers who order tickets to three or more performances from the 2011–12 season save 20%. The DanceMasters class with Janet Wong on Tuesday, September 27 at 6 p.m. at the Lou Conte Dance Studio at the Hubbard Street Dance Center, 1147 W. Jackson Boulevard, is $15, $10 for students; space is limited. All programming is subject to change. The theatre is accessible to people with disabilities. Call 312-369-8330 or visit