CFA News

LMU Dance and Bill T. Jones to Renew Partnership

One of the premiere partnerships developed by CFA exists between the Dance Program and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, and grants the Program exclusive access to Company members, including Mr. Jones, in the form of discussions, talks, coaching and master classes, as well as the licensing of several repertory works. In addition, the partnership includes multiple intensive workshops at LMU, led by Company members, as well as scholarships and discounted rates for LMU students attending Company workshops and classes in New York.

Now in its third year, the partnership is still going strong, and has proven itself to be not only a great benefit to LMU Dance students, but also to the Company, which recently expressed interest in renewing the relationship. The renewal of the partnership will add another four years to the program, extending it through at least 2021.

Associate Professor of Dance Rosalynde LeBlanc Loo was a member of the company in the 1990s, and has been at the helm of the partnership, serving as a guiding force in imparting the Company’s philosophy to LMU Dance students. “We are thrilled and honored to renew this partnership for another four years,” LeBlanc Loo said. “The first four years have gone beyond our expectations in terms of the richness of exchanges between the students and the company members, as well as with Bill T. Jones himself. I believe this is dance education in its most dynamic and impactful permutation – one in which the college studio is porous and engaged with the professional art form.”

Considered by many to be the most influential dancer and choreographer alive, Bill T. Jones has brought his works and philosophy to a West Coast university in an extended and programmatic way for the first time through this partnership. In Fall 2016, our students performed the first section of the piece, D-Man in the Waters, one of Mr. Jones’s most famous and successful works. Another of his well-known pieces, Love Redefined, will be presented in its entirety as part of the Fall 2018 dance concert.

Damon Rago, Chair of the Dance Program at LMU, feels the strength of the partnership lies in its ability to expand our students’ understanding of dance from something that is solely for entertainment purposes. “Many of our students come to us with an attitude that dance is exclusively for entertainment,” Rago said. “But we want to teach our students that dance can be art that challenges audiences and asks them to participate by reflecting on a piece and drawing their own conclusions. The result is that exposure to the techniques of someone like Mr. Jones gives our dancers the confidence to put their art out there, and be ready for any and all interpretations.”

Over the past 33 years, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance 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 Jones and Zane. Today, the company is recognized as one of the most innovative and powerful forces in the dance world.

The slideshow above features images from the Fall 2016 LMU Dance presentation of “D-Man in the Waters.”