The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County proudly welcomes the magnificent, world-renowned dance-theater group Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company for its Arsht Center debut on January 6, in the Ziff Ballet Opera House. Led by acclaimed choreographer/dancer/artistic director Bill T. Jones, the company will perform Analogy/Lance: Pretty aka The Escape Artist, part of a deeply personal trilogy inspired by Jones’ beloved and troubled nephew Lance T. Briggs.
In Analogy/Lance: Pretty aka The Escape Artist, we meet Lance, whose battles with his own personal demons – drugs and excess – exposing audiences to the battlefield of the nightlife and underworld of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s club culture and sex trade. This “pretty boy-gangster thug,” a name he acquired in prison, holds steadfast to his often tragic and sometimes outrageously humorous narrative, while facing an uncertain future. Composer Nick Hallett’s score accompanies the stunning dancers of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company with a delirious mixture of soulful lullabies, rhythm and blues, and classic house music. The music will be performed live onstage by Hallett and baritone Matthew Gamble, while the dance evokes a ballet class, a lively disco and more indefinable interior landscapes.
Analogy/Lance:Pretty aka The Escape Artist, is part of the Analogy Trilogy developed by Bill T. Jones with Associate Artistic Director, Janet Wong. Inspired by W.G. Sebald’s The Emigrants, Jones continues his exploration of how text, storytelling and movement pull and push against each other and how another experience can be had through the combination and recombination of these elements. All three stories, while wildly different, ruminate on the nature of service, duty and the question of what defines a life well lived. Analogy/Lance: Pretty aka The Escape Artist is commissioned by the American Dance Festival, Dancers’ Workshop and the Executive Director’s Fund at The Joyce Theater Foundation.
It was a pleasure to sit down with Jenna Riegel (dancer) and composer Nick Hallett (composer), just a couple weeks prior to their performance in Miami:
At what age did you start performing/composing?
Jenna – I started dancing in my living room for my family at around 10 and have never stopped.
Nick – I started performing before I can remember understanding anything else about the world…maybe 4 years old. I think I have been composing in my mind since I was 2.
How did it feel to get hired to this iconic company?
Jenna – I had been working in New York when I got hired with Bill. For me it was a big shift to have work that was more consistent and almost full time including touring nationally and internationally. I was on cloud nine when I got hired to work full time making art with this renowned company.
Nick – Previous to working with Bill, I had self-generated my projects. I had dreamed about what kind of usefulness my music would have with an incredible artist like Bill, and I am so excited to be working with him.
You have now both been with the company for a few years, so what has been your favorite piece to perform/compose for Bill T. Jones?
Jenna – I don’t have one favorite. We have done broad amounts of work, so it’s very hard to choose. The new works are all exciting in different ways, especially since the collaborators change with new works. I’m shocked by what a vast range of work there is in Bill’s repertoire.
Nick – The piece that I am proudest of is the third part of this trilogy. When I was new with the company we performed for a men’s prison and we had to put together the piece in four days. It was a lot of pressure but I loved doing it. It exceeded any artistic experience I have ever had.
What’s your fantasy piece to perform/compose?
Jenna – I dreamed up an entire piece that was all partnering where none of it is repeated. That’s my fantasy piece.
Nick – My next work that I am making now.
What should the South Florida audiences expect out of Analogy/Lance: Pretty aka The Escape Artist?
Nick – the story is very relevant to Florida, as the protagonist currently lives there and part of the story takes place in Miami. It definitely will hit home for South Florida. The story deals with real issues that might make people feel uncomfortable, but it’s a true story and that’s where we find heart and sympathy for the character.
Jenna – I agree 100%. My partner is from Miami and I have been to Miami many times. The nightlife experience of Miami finds itself into the movement style.
Tickets to Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company are $30, $55 & $75, and may be purchased through the Arsht Center Box Office in person, by calling (305) 949-6722, or online at Arshtcenter.org.
For more information on Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company visit Newyorklivearts.org.