Featured Facts About Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company

November 3, 2021
2 dancers wearing face masks  jump, legs bent underneath them, arms curved in front

Tony Award-winning choreographer, director, and dancer Bill T. Jones continues his longstanding relationship with Northrop and Walker Art Center, presenting his hypnotic Afterwardsness. Learn more about the work and Jones’ history in the Twin Cities with these featured facts about the upcoming performances..

Video still of 2 dancers, one with head on the chest of the other whose arms are extended over them.

Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane Dance Company, Valley Cottage, 1981, performed at Anwatin Middle School, Oct 9, 1981

Flashback to the ‘80s! The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company was first presented by the Walker as part of its New Dance USA Festival in 1981. This exploration of postmodern dance included works by 24 other choreographers performed at five locations in the Twin Cities, plus lectures, panels, an exhibition of scores and graphic works, and a 50-page catalogue.

View from behind, one dancer stands on one leg leaning back arms open wide with other leg extended up into the air. Second dancer in background in mid-skip.

Photo by Stephanie Berger

Since their 1981 Walker debut, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company has returned ten times including various co-commissions and presentations with Northrop.

Dancer performs among the audience members

Photo by Stephanie Berger

Places, everyone! The limited audience of 150 will be seated on Northrop's stage as the dancers and musicians perform among them.

single dancer wearing blue pants and tan tank top and blue facemask, stands in fifth position, hands spread wide on leg and chest

Photo by Stephanie Berger

The term "afterwardsness" pulls from Sigmund Freud's concept of the belated understanding of trauma, which comes close to describing Jones' state of mind when offered a commission to create a socially distanced work during the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and ongoing violence against Black bodies.

Bill T Jones sits at a desk where a microphone, papers and several apples are placed.

Bill T. Jones in Story/Time. Photo by Paul B. Goode

Minneapolis audiences last saw Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company in 2012 at Walker Art Center for a performance of Story/Time—where Jones read 70, minute-long stories as members of his company moved around him. Listen to Bill T. Jones in conversation with MPR’s Kerri Miller and check out this interview: Story/Time: Bill T. Jones on John Cage.

One dancer in light, masked and hands pointing to his chest, a second dancer in shadow back to us, arms bent forward

Sasha Arutyunova for The New York Times

The music of Afterwardsness—which The New York Times highlights as “live and largely elegiac”—includes a vocal composition by Holland Andrews, a violin solo for George Floyd entitled Homage by Pauline Kim Harris, and excerpts from Olivier Messaien’s harrowing war-time chamber composition Quartet for the End of Time.

Single dancer in spotlight bent forward, crowd of dancers mid-walk in shadow in the foreground

Shane Larson with Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company Andrew Jerrigan, Courtesy BTJ/AZC

Local connection! Performer Shane Larson was raised in Minnesota and trained at the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists before graduating from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and listed as a “downtown standout” in Dance Magazine.

Northrop and Walker Art Center co-presented Jones’ Blind Date in 2005. Watch Walker’s Senior Curator of Performing Arts, Philip Bither, in discussion with Bill T. Jones about the controversial work The New York Times reviewed under the headline, “Bill T. Jones Is About to Make People Angry. Again.