An Artistic Union…

An arranged marriage? An artistic union? A strategic merger?

The Dance Theater Workshop and The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company are currently in discussion about merging artistic forces under a new umbrella organization.

This would definitely be a second marriage for both company and theater – or at least a marriage late in life.

The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance company has been at work for 28 years, addressing socially relevant issues like AIDS and racism, all to critical acclaim.

The 45-year old Dance Theatre Workshop, one of the preeminent downtown dance institutions in New York, mounts 110 performances by 45 different artists and companies each year.

So who had the idea to get hitched?

Last year, Jones’ company took part in the EmcArts program, an initiative that helps arts groups develop new ways of working. Jones’ company was paired with the Dance Theater Workshop to explore the feasibility of sharing the Chelsea space. Sparks flew!

Both company and theater agree the union would have no affect on their individual institutional missions. “We have no intention of changing our philosophy” Andrea Sholler, executive director of the Dance Theater Workshop said.

But as with all mergers, change is inevitable. It’s just hard to say how much. As Catherine Peila, executive director of Dance New Amsterdam said, “Bill T. Jones has this amazing personality, and it could become the Bill T. Jones curated forum.” Ms. Pelia’s worries are not unwarranted. A union between company and theater is an unprecedented move. But joining forces could generate a dance explosion!

We’ll just have to for the engagement announcement.

Rosie duPont, BC ’10

ArtsLink Associate

For more information, see: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/27/arts/dance/27dtw.html

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