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World Premiere of Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Company's CURRICULUM II to be Presented at PEAK Performances

Performances take place June 9-12 at the Alexander Kasser Theater, with much of the audience seated on the stage.

World Premiere of Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Company's CURRICULUM II to be Presented at PEAK Performances

PEAK Performances at Montclair State University will welcome back Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Company for the world premiere of Curriculum II, a timely new work conceived and directed by the iconic, Tony-winning, and currently-Tony-nominated Bill T. Jones and choreographed by Jones with Janet Wong and the Company. Applying the ideas of Cameroonian historian and political theorist Achille Mbembe, Nigerian-born Afrofuturism scholar Louis Chude-Sokei, and Jamaican writer and cultural theorist Sylvia Wynter, Curriculum II, a highlight of the Company's 40th Anniversary Season, explores the historical and persistent connection between race and technology and the pursuit of what is human. Performances take place June 9-12 at the Alexander Kasser Theater, with much of the audience seated on the stage.

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.'" A poetic quilt of text, narration as philosophical lecture, live singing, and soundscore, Curriculum II features the rich archive of Jones's movement phrases, which are mostly non-theatrical, non-psychological, non-narrative, and made with the intention of clarity and form. Jones says "I have oscillated between two or more polarities my entire career: love, mortality, and what it means to be 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 undertake a series of works entitled Curriculum, juxtaposing formal exploration with a range of today's urgent topics as expansive as Jones's artistry. The series attempts to embrace formal directness and clarity while allowing it to be intruded upon by word fragments, imagery, and the stuff of Mbembe's "planetary curriculum."

Curriculum II is performed by Barrington Hinds, Dean Husted, Jada Jenai, Shane Larson, s. lumbert, Danielle Marshall, Marie Lloyd Paspe, Jacoby Pruitt, Nayaa Opong, 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, costume design by Liz Prince, and video design by Janet Wong.

Performance Schedule, Tickets, and Running Time

Performances of Curriculum II take place Thursday, June 9, at 7:30pm; Friday, June 10, at 7:30pm; Saturday, June 11, at 8pm; and Sunday, June 12, at 3pm.

Running time is 60 minutes, with no intermission.

Tickets are $50 ( free for MSU undergraduates, with valid ID) and can be purchased at peakperfs.org or 973.655.5112.

The Alexander Kasser Theater is located at 1 Normal Ave, Montclair, NJ 07043.

PEAK Performances' Commitment to Health and Safety

To help protect the health and safety of audiences, artists, staff, and PEAK's greater community, patrons are required to wear masks-at all times-for all performances. Additionally, all performances will require proof of full vaccination to attend. Audience members will be asked to show proof of vaccination before entering the theater. These guidelines may evolve depending on health and safety recommendations.

About Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Company

Over the past 40 years the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company has shaped the evolution of contemporary dance through the creation and performance of over 140 works. Founded as a multicultural dance company in 1982, the company was born of an 11-year artistic collaboration between Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane. Today, the company is recognized as one of the most innovative and powerful forces in the modern-dance world. The company has performed its ever-enlarging repertoire worldwide in over 200 cities in 40 countries on every major continent. In 2011, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company merged with Dance Theater Workshop to form New York Live Arts, of which Bill T. Jones is the artistic director and Janet Wong is the associate artistic director.

The repertory of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company is widely varied in its subject matter, visual imagery, and stylistic approach to movement, voice, and stagecraft and includes musically driven works as well as works using a variety of texts. Some of its most celebrated creations are evening-length works including Last Supper at Uncle Tom's Cabin/The Promised Land (1990, Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music); Still/Here (1994, Biennale de la Danse in Lyon, France); We Set Out Early... Visibility Was Poor (1996, Hancher Auditorium, Iowa City, IA); You Walk? (2000, European Capital of Culture 2000, Bolgna, Italy); Blind Date (2006, Peak Performances at Montclair State University); Chapel/Chapter (2006, Harlem Stage Gatehouse); Fondly Do We Hope...Fervently Do We Pray (2009, Ravinia Festival, Highland Park, IL); Another Evening: Venice/Arsenale (2010, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy); Story/Time (2012, Peak Performances); A Rite (2013, Carolina Performing Arts at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill); and Deep Blue Sea (2021, Park Avenue Armory).

About Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones is the recipient of the 2022 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Choreography for Black No More; 2014 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award; 2013 National Medal of Arts; 2010 Kennedy Center Honors; a 2010 Tony Award for Best Choreography of the critically acclaimed Fela!; a 2007 Tony Award, 2007 Obie Award, and 2006 Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation Callaway Award for his choreography for Spring Awakening; the 2010 Jacob's Pillow Dance Award; 2007 USA Eileen Harris Norton Fellowship; 2006 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Choreography for The Seven; 2005 Wexner Prize; the 2005 Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement; 2005 Harlem Renaissance Award; 2003 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize; and a 1994 MacArthur "Genius" Award. In 2010, Jones was recognized as Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government, and in 2000, The Dance Heritage Coalition named Jones "An Irreplaceable Dance Treasure." Bill has been nominated for the 2022 Tony Awards for his work on Paradise Square.

Jones choreographed and performed worldwide with his late partner, Arnie Zane, before forming the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in 1982. He has created more than 140 works for his company. Jones is Artistic Director of New York Live Arts, an organization that strives to create a robust framework in support of the nation's dance and movement-based artists through new approaches to producing, presenting, and educating.

About PEAK Performances

PEAK Performances is a program of the Office of Arts + Cultural Programming (Jedediah Wheeler, Executive Director) at Montclair State University and has been honored by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts with previous Arts Citation of Excellence and Designation of Major Impact. Programs in this season are made possible in part by the Alexander Kasser Theater Endowment Fund, PEAK Patrons, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the FACE Foundation.




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