Over the course of its 35-year history, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company has risen to the top of contemporary dance, performing in more than 200 cities in 40 countries across the globe.

The company is known for its incredible range, intense physicality and poignant storytelling. All these were on display last week, when the company visited UNCG to teach dance students and perform for the greater Greensboro community.

The company’s visit, part of the University Performing Arts Series (UPAS) and War & Peace Imagined, kicked off on Thursday when Associate Artistic Director Janet Wong taught screen dance and improvisation classes to students and recent graduates. Dancers Talli Jackson and Antonio Brown led technique classes on Friday, and the company ended its time in Greensboro with an evening performance of “Analogy/Dora: Tramontane” in UNCG Auditorium.

Talli Jackson talks to students as they stretch on the dance floor.

Talli Jackson guides students through a series of exercises.

For students, it was an invaluable opportunity to meet and work with some of the industry’s best.

“Having a big company like this come to campus is a really unique experience that not everyone gets to have,” said freshman Kassandra Kolbeck, who participated in two classes. “It’s inspiring.”

UNCG’s ties with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company run deep. School of Dance Director Janet Lilly performed with the company from 1983 to 1991. Now, she’s thrilled to once again work with the group as an educator.

“It’s a great opportunity for our students to have this level of connection with the company members,” she said. “They’ve studied the company in their classes, so they know how influential the work is.”

Later this month, 15 UNCG students will have the opportunity to visit the company at its studio at New York Live Arts. Professor Duane Cyrus’ repertoire class – titled “The Collective, Professional Dance Company Investigation” – will perform on the same bill as the Martha Graham Dance Company at the historic Joyce Theater, and will then spend time with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company and other professionals in the field.

It’s these opportunities that distinguish UNCG’s School of Dance.

“We’re really privileged,” said freshman Patrick Rupp. “There are a lot of schools that don’t have these connections.”

 

Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications