POSTPONED - What Problem?

Saturday January 29, 2022 8:00 pm

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company
What Problem?

The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company will not perform What Problem? as planned on January 29, 2022. Ticket buyers will be contacted regarding full refunds.

"For the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line . . . the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men . . . And yet, being a problem is a strange experience,— peculiar even for one who has never been anything else.” - W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903).

 Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company’s latest work What Problem? provokes the tension between belonging to a community and feelings of isolation that many feel during these divisive political times. Adapted for proscenium stages from the massive work, Deep Blue Sea (2020), Jones conceived of this highly personal work in pursuit of the elusive “we” including a cast of local community members, a deconstructed text from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Jones and the company develop individual content with local community members in each of the touring locations making each performance specific to its host city.

Jones reflects on King’s immortal words, we shall overcome, mixed with the scripture of our democracy as formed and shaped by WE THE PEOPLE. There has always been an uneasy recognition of the truth at the base of the great Du Bois statement concerning “the problem of the color-line” for Du Bois represented the epitome of otherness; yet we now understand this is much more complex. In our fractious era, What Problem? elaborates on this line in terms of sexual politics, gender identity, class struggles and immigration.

About Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company:

The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane 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 emerged onto the international scene in 1983 with the world premiere of Intuitive Momentum, which featured legendary drummer Max Roach, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Since then, the Company has performed worldwide in over 200 cities in 35 countries on every major continent. Today, the Company is recognized as one of the most innovative and powerful forces in the modern dance world.

Adapted from "Deep Blue Sea" which was originally commissioned by Park Avenue Armory and Manchester International Festival in collaboration with Holland Festival and first performed on September 28, 2021. Additional commissioning support provided by The Mann Center for the Performing Arts with original support for "Deep Blue Sea" provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Philadelphia. "What Problem?" Commissioning support provided by Carolina Performing Arts, Lumberyard Center for Film and Performing Arts, Indiana University Auditorium, George Mason University and Dancers’ Workshop. Rehearsal support provided by Mana Contemporary and Bethany Arts Community.  "What Problem?" was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The creation of new work by Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company is made possible in part by the company’s Partners in Creation: Anonymous, Anne Delaney, Zoe Eskin, Eleanor Friedman, Ruth & Stephen Hendel, James C. Hormel & Michael P.  Nguyen, Suzanne Karpas, Ellen Poss, Jane Bovingdon Semel, in memory of Linda G. Shapiro, Slobodan Randjelović & Jon Stryker.

"What Problem?" was first performed at the Center for the Arts at George Mason University on February 1, 2020.

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