Arts + Culture

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Co. Presents West Coast Premiere of


"The beauty of 'We Set Out Early ... Visibility Was Poor' isthat the journey doesn't end once the dancers leave the stage -- it continuesin the mind and memory."

-- The Washington Post

"... evokes a vibrant kinetic response through images that aremeditative or emotionally charged."

-- The New York Times

UCLA Center for the Performing Arts presents celebrated choreographerBill T. Jones and his company of 10 dancers in the West Coast premiereof "We Set Out Early ... Visibility Was Poor." This new workreturns the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company to UCLA's Royce Hallfor an evening full of color, sound and movement on Friday and Saturday,May 8 and 9, at 8 p.m. Artistic director Bill T. Jones will lead the CenterStagelecture both evenings beginning at 7 p.m.

Jones, a 1994 recipient of the MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship,has received many commissions to create new works for his own company,as well as new dances for such classical troupes as the Berlin Opera Balletand the Boston Ballet. His new work, "We Set Out Early..." isa 70-minute abstract journey through the 20th century performed in threesections, each accompanied by a different composer. This is the Bill T.Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company's first full-length work since "Still/Here."

"We Set Out Early ..." is an ironic play on an oblique reflectionof any number of journeys: personal, societal, historical and spiritual.The music of Igor Stravinsky, John Cage and Peteris Vasks is the connectiveforce that promises an intense and transforming voyage.

The first section, titled "On the TSII," is danced by thecompany to Stravinsky's musical suite "L'Histoire Du Soldat"(The Soldier's Tale). In choosing Stravinsky, Jones was looking for a piecethat invited movement with rhythmic propulsion and a strong, potentiallytheatrical score to set the stage for his dancers, who are transformedinto a playful group of "immigrants/refugees." The Stravinskypiece is brash, arrogant and brimming with possibilities, suggesting theoptimism of the beginning of the century.

The second, transitional section, titled "Cape Bardo," isdanced to Cage's pure and moving prepared piano pieces: "Empty Words,""Sonata," and "Music For Marcel Duchamp." Cage's faintdrumming emphasizes the sense of ritual and a solemn preparation for ajourney.

The third section, titled "Voiceland," is danced to "Stimmen,"a lyrical, ecstatic work for string symphony, created in 1991 by the internationallyrenowned, contemporary Latvian composer Vasks. Vasks' music is tinged witha back-to-nature flavor. Vasks uses musical elements from different periods,not forgetting Latvian folk music, and employs modernism as a means ofexpressing evil and chaos. He conveys the anguish he feels for the worldthat is living on the brink of disaster, but he also conveys his beliefin the human spirit.

The lyrical, ecstatic, encouraging "Stimmen" suggests transformationat the century's end. When all three sections are played together theytake us on a spiritual and artistic journey through the past 100 years.Riveting in its visual strength and originality, and profound in its emotionalimpact, "We Set Out Early ..." shimmers with spiritual and poeticresonance.

Jones began his dance training at the State University of New York atBinghamton (SUNY), where he studied classical ballet and modern dance.After living in Amsterdam, Jones returned to SUNY, where he became co-founderof the American Dance Asylum in 1973. Before forming the Bill T. Jones/ArnieZane Dance Company (then called Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane & Company)in 1982, Jones choreographed and performed nationally and internationallyas a soloist and as a duet company with his partner Arnie Zane.

In 1979, Jones received the Creative Artists Public Service Award inChoreography, and in 1980, 1981 and 1982, he was the recipient of ChoreographicFellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Jones and Zane wereawarded a New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Award in 1986 for theirJoyce Theater season, and in 1989, Jones was awarded another Bessie for"D-Man in the Waters." Jones and his collaborators, Rodessa Jonesand Idris Ackamoor, received an "Izzy" Award for "PerfectCourage" in 1990; Jones was honored with the Dorothy B. Chandler PerformingArts Award in 1991; and he was presented with the Dance Magazine Awardin 1993. In 1995, Jones' autobiographical book, titled "Last Nighton Earth," was published by Pantheon.

"We Set Out Early ...Visibility Was Poor" was co-commissionedby American Dance Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, The John F. KennedyCenter for the Performing Arts, National Dance Project, the National Endowmentfor the Arts, North Carolina Museum of Art, Paris Autumn Festival/Maisondes Arts de Creteil, Philip Morris Companies Inc., UCLA Center for thePerforming Arts and University of California at Berkeley; and also madepossible, in part, by The Henry Mancini Endowment. It is sponsored, inpart, by the National Dance Project.

Tickets to see the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Co. in its West Coastpremiere of "We Set Out Early ... Visibility Was Poor" are availablefor $40, $37, $33 and $16 (to UCLA students with valid I.D.) at the UCLACentral Ticket Office, at the southwest corner of the James West AlumniCenter, online at and at all Ticketmaster outlets.For more information or to charge by phone, call UCLA at (310) 825-2101.

One phone number. Lots of entertainment options. The UCLA ArtsLine. Call (310) UCLA-ART. For more information on Center for the PerformingArts events, visit our Web site at



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