Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Company
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Fresh off the heels of a jubilant 40th season complete with a national tour and a long-awaited return to in Brazil, Bill T. Jones/ Arnie Zane Company opens the fall 2023 season with the return of The New York Times’ Critic’s Pick Curriculum II. The poetic quilt – sewn of text, lecture as narration, live song, sound and visual installation, and the Company’s distinctive movement lexicon – applies ideas from great minds Achille Mbembe, Louis Chude-Sokei, and Sylvia Wynter.
In The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics, Louis Chude-Sokei quoted Sylvia Wynter: “The other must be understood as not just that which is oppressed or marginalized or rendered inhuman, subhuman, or animal; it also must be understood ‘as that which is to come.’”
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company opens Live Arts’ fall 2023 season with the return of The New York Times’ Critic’s Pick Curriculum II. Conceived and directed by Jones and choreographed by Jones with Janet Wong and the Company, the poetic quilt – sewn of text, lecture as narration, live song, sound and visual installation, and the Company’s distinctive movement lexicon – applies ideas from Cameroonian historian and political theorist Achille Mbembe, Nigerian-born writer and scholar Louis Chude-Sokei, and Jamaican writer and cultural theorist Sylvia Wynter. Join the Company on its home stage to explore the historical and persistent connection between race and technology and the pursuit of what is human.
Jones’s title is an ironic reference to Achille Mbembe’s 2018 interview by the Norwegian journalist Torbjorn Tumyr Nilsen, in which he said “for me, this is a matter of common sense. I am in favor of expanding the archive, reading the different archives of the world critically, each with and against the others. There can’t be any other meaning to a planetary curriculum.” This fertile notion inspired Bill T. Jones to create a series of works entitled Curriculum, juxtaposing formal exploration with a range of today’s urgent topics. The series engages formal directness and clarity while allowing it to be intruded upon by word fragments, imagery, the fibers of Mbembe’s “planetary curriculum,” and Jones’ iconic non-theatrical, non-psychological, non-narrative movement phrases. “I have oscillated between two or more polarities my entire career: love, mortality, and what it means to be human.” – Bill T. Jones
Curriculum II is performed by Barrington Hinds, Jada Jenai, Shane Larson, s. lumbert, Danielle Marshall, Marie Lloyd Paspe, Jacoby Pruitt, Nayaa Opong, Philip Strom, and Huiwang Zhang. The work is conceived and directed by Bill T. Jones and features choreography by Jones with Janet Wong and the Company, lighting design by Robert Wierzel, sound design by David van Tieghem, installation and costume design by Liz Prince, and video design by Janet Wong.
Curriculum II is commissioned and produced by New York Live Arts with commissioning support from PEAK Performances at Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ, and the American Dance Festival. Curriculum II premiered at PEAK Performance in June 2022. Created with support from the Made in Wickenburg Residency Program at the Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts in Wickenburg, Arizona, with funding from the R.H. Johnson Foundation and The Welk Foundation.