Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company to Perform New Work Co-Commissioned by IU Auditorium

Feb 7 / 2020

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The renowned dance company Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company returns to Bloomington to present Bill T. Jones’ newest work, co-commissioned by IU Auditorium, entitled What Problem? on Saturday, February 22 at 8 p.m.


This work opens with a solo movement to the iconic words of Dr. Martin Luther King, and eventually evolves into a large ensemble of dancers that will include 20 local community members, with whom the Company is working in the weeks leading up to the performance to develop individual content that will make their performance at IU Auditorium truly unique.


What Problem? provokes the tension between belonging to a community and feelings of isolation that many feel during these divisive political times. The entire work examines group identity and will include spoken word, such as quotes from Moby Dick and W.E.B. Du Bois, and choral music provided by IU’s African American Choral Ensemble. Bill T. Jones has been a trailblazer for expressing social commentary through dance and this work is yet another leading example of this.


The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company was born in 1982 out of an 11-year collaboration between Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane (1948–1988). During this time, they redefined the duet and foreshadowed issues of identity, form, and social commentary that would change the face of American dance. The Company has performed worldwide in over 200 cities in 40 countries on every major continent and is recognized as one of the most innovative and powerful forces in the dance-theatre world.


Bill T. Jones will also receive an honorary doctorate from Indiana University on Friday, February 21, the day before the performance. 


“IU Auditorium is proud to be a co-commissioner of Bill T. Jones’ newest work, What Problem? and we can’t wait for it to be performed on our stage,” IU Auditorium Executive Director Doug Booher said. “We would also like to congratulate Mr. Jones for his honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts. For decades, Jones has been a groundbreaking leader in the arts, contributing as an artist, choreographer, dancer, theatre director, and writer.”


Educational Outreach

While here in Bloomington, the Company will participate in a number of educational outreach events in the community including classroom visits, masterclasses, and a special performance for local middle school and high school students.


Company Members Early Visit (February 10–13)

Two weeks prior to their performance, Company members Shane Larson and J. Bouey will visit Bloomington to work and rehearse with the participating community members, and to gain some important insight into the IU/Bloomington community that they will use to choreograph parts of What Problem?.


In addition, Larson and Bouey will visit Maria Hamilton Abegunde’s Memory, Trauma, and Healing in the African Diaspora class to share the importance of their work in the world, their personal journeys, and how dance, movement, and the body helps them remember. Additionally, they will lead a masterclass for the African American Dance Company, and visit Erik Abbott-Main’s Approaches to Dance-Making class to teach some of their methodologies and provide some insight into how the Company crafts their work.


Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Residency (February 21–23)

IU Auditorium will be hosting approximately 2,000 students from middle schools in the Monroe County Community School Corporation and Eastern Greene High School during the day on Friday, February 21 to experience a performance and demonstration by Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company as part of the Auditorium Kids on Campus initiative. This will be an engaging way for young people in the community to experience and witness the power of professional dance, which will be a first for many.


The Company will also have their final rehearsals with the participating community members who will be part of What Problem? on performance night.


Finally, on Saturday, February 22, the Eskenazi Museum of Art will offer several experiences related to the show, including a perspectives tour led by Dr. Terri Francis, and a tour focusing on the themes of community and identity. For more information and times for these public activities, visit


Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company at IU Auditorium is supported by Night & Day, the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs, Smithville Foundation, and Arts Midwest. IU Auditorium’s 2019–2020 season is presented by B97, Cook Group, Curry Auto Center, The Herald-Times, World Arts Inc., and IU Residential Programs and Services.


For more information on this performance and the rest of the 2019–2020 season, visit

More Info for Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Company
Feb 22 / 2020
Performing an IU Auditorium co-commissioned work.