NAME: Zane, Arnie

BIRTH DATE/LOCATION:
26 September 1948, Bronx, New York

DEATH DATE/LOCATION:
30 March 1988, Valley Cottage, New York, age 39

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Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane in Rotary Action (1982)
Photo: Lois Greenfield, courtesy of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company

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  • identification & bio
  • key contact
  • human repositories
  • video documentation
  • photographic documentation
  • movement notation
  • production materials
  • oral history
  • personal papers
  • immediate needs
  • other relevant information
  • overview of works
  • bibliography
  • back to introduction
  • back to index of choreographers


  • IDENTIFICATION AND BIO:
    A photographer turned dancer and choreographer, Arnie Zane was co-founder and co-artistic director of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane and Company. At first in duets with Bill T. Jones and subsequently as a choreographer in his own right, Zane developed a theatrical brand of postmodern dance replete with text and attractive stage designs created by such famous collaborators as costumer Willi Smith and visual artist Keith Haring. In an obituary published in the New York Times, Jennifer Dunning writes: "[Zane's] interest in formal values and stylish visual design played an important part in the development of his and Mr. Jones's dance, with its distinctive mix of the abstract and the anecdotal." Zane was born in the Bronx and received his B.A. from State University of New York at Binghamton. He began working with Jones in 1971, forming the American Dance Asylum with Lois Welk in 1973 in Binghamton. Zane briefly created his own dance company in the early 1980s and then co-founded the Jones/Zane company in 1982. Zane and Jones received a New York Dance and Performance Award, a "Bessie," in 1986. In July 1987, Zane came out publicly with his AIDS diagnosis in a program of the McNeil/Lehrer Newshour titled "AIDS and the Arts."

    KEY CONTACT PERSON(S)/EXECUTOR OF ESTATE:
    Bill T. Jones
    c/o Bjorn Amelan
    Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company
    853 Broadway, #1706
    New York, NY
    212-477-1850 (phone)
    212-777-5263 (fax)
    billbjorn@aol.com

    Alison Schwartz, operations director
    Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company
    (see above)
    aschwartz@billtjones.org

    Jonathan Green, Director
    UCR/California Museum of Photography
    University of California Riverside, 92521
    909-787-5191
    909-787-4797 (fax)
    jonathan.green@ucr.edu
    jgreen@citrus.ucr.edu

    HUMAN REPOSITORIES OF THE WORK
    (name and contact info, relationship to the artist and the work, assessment):

    Bill T. Jones and members of the Jones/Zane company.

    VIDEO DOCUMENTATION
    (location, format, condition, assessment):

    Videotape documentation of Zane's work is held by the Jones/Zane company. According to Alison Schwartz, operations director, all works created since 1982 have been documented and are shelved in the company's New York offices. These holdings comprise thousands of videotapes in multiple formats—VHS and ¾ inch, primarily—as well as 8 mm film. These materials are in air-conditioned offices but are not otherwise temperature-controlled. Schwartz is interested in transferring this documentation to digital format. She also notes that documentation dating before 1986 lacks clear labels and may be in some disarray, and that some of the earlier materials may be housed at the home of Bill T. Jones.

    In addition, some video materials related to Zane's career are held by the UCR/California Museum of Photography at the University of California—Riverside. Jonathan Green reports (1 November 2000), "We had some very early 1970s tapes cleaned and restored and found on them the complete 1974 Zane/Dina Cranes video 'First Portrait Drawing,' perhaps the earliest known video of Arnie 'dancing.' Also excerpts from video work done by Bill and Arnie in 1971 including Women and Art, Arnie's Carrots and Gertrude Stein, and Arnie's bubble bath video. It's all a hoot!" The final disposition of these materials is under discussion. In addition, the Museum houses hours of video interviews with Bill T. Jones about Zane, Zane's photography, and their early shared career. These interviews have been transcribed and form the basis of Jones's narratives in the Zane photography catalog listed below.

    The Dance Collection of the New York Public Library holds the following videotapes:

    Center Stage: Physically and Theatricality (1986)—compilation video including an excerpt of Secret Pastures, choreographed by Arnie Zane (and Bill T. Jones); produced by ARC Videodance as part of the television series Eye on Dance recorded on 20 March and telecast on 2 May 1986; one ¾ in. cassette (29 min.); call number MGZIC 9-2981.

    Fire and Rotary Action: Excerpts and Light and Sticks (1986)—videodance dancers/choreographers Arnie Zane and Bill T. Jones; telecast on the Alive from Off-Center Series (program #203); produced by KTCA-TV/Minneapolis-St. Paul; one ¾ in. videocassette (28 min.); call number MGZIC 9-3273.

    Food for Thought (1990)—compilation video including choreographic piece by Roni Gross in memory of Arnie Zane; two ¾ in. videocassettes (94 min.); call number MGZIC 9-2570.

    Men Dancing II (1982)—compilation video including choreographic excerpts by Arnie Zane; a Riverside Dance Festival presentation, taped in performance on 2 May by Virginia Brooks; two VHS (135 min.) videocassettes; call number MGZIA 4-266.

    Retracing Steps: American Dance Since Postmodernism (1988)—compilation video with choreographic excerpts by Arnie Zane; produced by Michael Blackwood Productions and Westdeutscher Rundfunk; directed by Michael Blackwood; two ¾ in. videocassettes (88 min.); call number MGZIC 9-1870.

    Secret Pastures (1985)—videotape of world premiere performance at the Next Wave Festival Brooklyn Academy of Music Opera House; 15 November; choreographed by Arnie Zane and Bill T. Jones; two ¾ in. videocassettes (94 min.); call number MGZIC 9-951.

    Solos, Duets, & Pizza (1994)—compilation video with choreographic excerpts by Arnie Zane; produced by WGBH/Boston's New Television Workshop; one ¾ in. videocassette (39 min.); call number MGZIC 9-2484.

    Wired: a Benefit for Performance Space 122 (1989)—compilation video including choreographic excerpts by Arnie Zane; videotaped in performance at Performance Space 122, New York, on 4 February; two ¾ in. videocassettes (99 min.); call number MGZIC 9-4573.

    PHOTOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTATION
    (location, format, condition, assessment):

    Zane was a prolific photographer whose collected work, numbering 1,503 items, now resides in the collection of the UCR/California Museum of Photography at the University of California—Riverside. Many of these photos have been published in a catalog (see below). The agreement with the Museum is as follows, according to Jonathan Green: "A master set of Arnie's work belongs to the Museum, donated by Bill T. Jones. So while some prints may go elsewhere and indeed end up in a repository with Bill's work, at least one complete set of prints and probably the negatives will remain here forever." In addition, the Jones/Zane company maintains photo files on Zane's works and his collaborations with Jones, filed by title of work and housed at the company's New York offices. The Dance Collection of the New York Public Library holds the following:

    Secret Pastures (1984)—Jones and Zane photographic prints by Johan Elbers; b&w ; 21 x 26 cm; call number MGZEA.

    MOVEMENT NOTATION
    (location, type [including notes taken by dancers], assessment):

    None identified.

    PRODUCTION MATERIALS
    (scores, sound recordings, set/costume designs):

    These materials are maintained by the Jones/Zane company.

    ORAL HISTORY:
    The Dance Collection of the New York Public Library holds three pertinent interviews and oral histories, all on soundtape:

    Dancers and the Dance (1984)—compilation video of excerpts from various German and American dance works, presented at the International Festival for Modern Dance titled "New York and Back," held in Cologne are shown to illustrate the similiarites and differences between the German and American modern dance traditions; includes Arnie Zane interview.

    Interview with Arnie Zane (1987)—sound recording of Arnie Zane discussing his childhood and education, as well as collaborations with Bill T. Jones; interviewed by Lesley Farlow 23 December in Valley Cottage, New York; one sound cassette (75 min.); call number MGZTC 3-1096; for transcript of interview see call number MGZMT 3-1096.

    Interview with Lawrence Goldhuber (1997)—sound recording of Lawrence Goldhuber discussing Arnie Zane's battle with AIDS; interviewed by Susan Kraft, 19 February 19 at Mr. Goldhuber's apartment in New York City; two sound cassettes (105 min.) + 1 transcript (56 leaves ; 28 cm.); call number MGZMT 3-2041 (transcript); call number MGZTC 3-2041 (sound cassette)

    PERSONAL PAPERS
    (location of newspaper clippings, printed programs, press releases, notes, files, diaries; assessment):

    Personal papers are held by the Jones/Zane company. In addition, the Dance Collection of the New York Public Library maintains a clipping file for "Zane, Arnie," call number MGZR.

    IMMEDIATE NEEDS
    (archival assistance? storage? other?):

    None identified.

    OTHER RELEVANT INFORMATION:
    Greenberg's work is better documented than most downtown choreographers, owing to his participation in a documentation initiative sponsored by the New York Public Library Dance Collection.

    LIST OR OVERVIEW OF WORKS
    (title, premiere date, music, production notes, performers):

    This list is drawn from the choreochronicles in Bill T. Jones's autobiography and Zimmer/Quasha (see below):

    Self-Portrait (1973)—choreography and slides by Arnie Zane; first performed at Santa Cruz Theater 103, Santa Cruz, California; music by Enrico Caruso.

    Pas de Deux for Two (1973)—choreographed by Arnie Zane in collaboration with Bill T. Jones; first performed by 137 Washington Street in Binghamton, New York; music by Benny Goodman.

    Dances for a Third American Century (1974)—collaboration between Arnie Zane, Bill T. Jones, and Lois Welk; first performed in Albany, Stony Brook, and Warwick, New York; performed by 25 dancers.

    Negroes for Sale (1974)—choreographed by Bill T. Jones for the Collective for Living Cinema; first performed in New York City; audio collage by Jones and décor by Arnie Zane.

    Rhada, a real dance (1975)—choreographed by Arnie Zane in collaboration wit Peer Bode; first performed by American Dance Asylum in Binghamton, New York; for ten dancers.

    Dancing and Video in Binghamton (1975)—choreographed by Arnie Zane and Bill T. Jones in collaboration with Meryl Blackman; first performed Experimental Television Center, Binghamton, New York, performed by eight dancers.

    Across the Street (1975)—choreographed by Arnie Zane in collaboration with Bill T. Jones for the American Dance Asylum; first performed in Binghamton, New York; spoken text by Jones and film by Zane.

    Couple #513 (1976)—choreographed by Arnie Zane in collaboration with Lois Welk; first performed at the Everson Museum, Syracuse, New York; video by Meryl Blackman.

    Transport Dance (1976)—choreographed by Arnie Zane; first performed by American Dance Asylum in Binghamton, New York; music by Ross Levinson; performed by 14 dancers.

    At the Crux of (1976)—choreographed, with text and visuals, by Arnie Zane; first performed by American Dance Asylum in Binghamton, New York; performed by 10 dancers.

    Crux, an Old Dance Constructed Anew (1977)—choreographed by Arnie Zane; first performed by American Dance Asylum, Binghamton, New York; performed by 10 dancers.

    Steppin' (1977)—choreographed by Arnie Zane; first performed by American Dance Asylum, Binghamton, New York; music by Pierre Ruiz; performed by 3 dancers.

    Hand Dance (1977)—duet for Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane, choreographed and with decor by Zane; first performed by American Dance Asylum, Binghamton, New York; music by Rhys Chatham (Green Line Poem).

    Hand Dance/Pink Dress Blue (1978)—choreographed by Arnie Zane; first performed Susquehanna, Pennsylvania; music by Helen Thorington; decor by Sherry Steiner; performed by 7 dancers.

    Whosedebabedoll? Baby Doll (1978)—choreographed by Arnie Zane in collaboration with Bill T. Jones for the American Dance Asylum; first performed in Binghamton, New York; spoken text by Jones and Zane.

    Monkey Run Road (1979)—choreographed by Arnie Zane in collaboration with Bill T. Jones for the American Dance Asylum; first performed in Binghamton, New York; music by Helen Thorington; text by Jones; set and costumes by Jones and Zane.

    Pieman's Portrait (1980)—choreographed by Arnie Zane; first performed Warren Street Performance Loft, New York City; music by Ross Levinson; performed by 6 dancers.

    Sweeps (1980)—choreographed by Arnie Zane in collaboration with Bill T. Jones; first performed in Zurich, Switzerland; video by Meryl Blackman; set (painting) by Rosina Kuhn.

    Blauvelt Mountain (1980)—choreographed by Arnie Zane in collaboration with Bill T. Jones; first performed at the Dance Theater Workshop in New York City; music by Helen Thorington; set by Bill Katz; lighting by William Yehle.

    Social Intercourse (1980)—choreographed by Bill T. Jones and assisted by Arnie Zane; first performed by the Stewart Theater at the American Dance Festival at Duke University in Raleigh, North Carolina and at The Space in New York City; text and lyrics by Jones; music arrangement by Joe Hannon.

    Valley Cottage (1980)—choreographed by Arnie Zane in collaboration with Bill T. Jones; first performed by the Dance Theater Workshop in New York City; music by Helen Thorington; text by Jones and Zane; set by Bill Katz; slides by Zane; lighting by William Yehle.

    Cotillion (1981)—choreographed by Arnie Zane; first performed at The Kitchen, New York City; music by Ross Levinson; costumes by Betsey Johnson; performed by 9 dancers and 4 musicians.

    Garden (1981)—choreographed by Arnie Zane in collaboration with Johanna Boyce; first performed Danspace, Saint Mark's Church, New York City; film clip from Night and Fog; text by Johanna Boyce; music traditional Swiss and German; costumes by Johanna Boyce.

    Your Hero (1981)—choreographed by Arnie Zane; first performed P.S. 122, New York City; text and music by Bill T. Jones and Johanna Boyce; performed by 5 dancers.

    New Hero (1982)—choreographed by Arnie Zane; first performed Riverside Dance Festival, New York City; performed by 4 dancers.

    Continuous Replay (1982)—solo version of Hand Dance, choreographed and performed by Arnie Zane; first performed The Kitchen, New York City; music by Bryan Rulon.

    Rotary Action (1982)—choreographed by Arnie Zane in collaboration with Bill T. Jones; first performed at New Dance, New York City and the Vienna Festival in Vienna, Austria; music by Peter Gordon; lighting by William Yehle.

    Dance for the Convergence of Three Rivers (1982)—choreographed by Arnie Zane in collaboration with Bill T. Jones; first performance at the Three Rivers Arts Festival in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; music by George Lewis; collaboration with Keith Haring (painting during performance).

    Rumble in the Jungle (1983)—choreographed by Arnie Zane; first performed Riverside Dance Studio, London, England; music by Max Roach.

    Intuitive Momentum (1983)—choreographed by Arnie Zane in collaboration with Bill T. Jones; first performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, New York; music by Max Roach and Connie Crothers; set by Robert Longo; costumes by Ronald Kolodzie; lighting by Craig Miller.

    Peter and the Wolf (1985)—choreographed by Arnie Zane; first performed SUNY College at Purchase, New York; music by Prokofiev, manipulated by Arnie Zane; performed by 22 dancers.

    Black Room (1985)—duet for Bill T. Jones and Heywood McGriff, Jr., choreographed by Arnie Zane; first performance University of Nebraska, Lincoln; music by Yoshi Wada; lighting by Robert Wierzel.

    Lotus Eaters (1985)—choreographed by Arnie Zane; first performance Joyce Theater, New York City; music by Lorenzo Ferrare; costumes by Michael Jordan; lighting by Robert Wierzel.

    M.A.K.E. (1985)—choreographed by Bill T. Jones; first performed at the Joyce Theater, New York City; audiotaped, spoken text by Jones and Arnie Zane; set by Jones; lighting by Robert Wierzel.

    Freedom of Information (1985)—choreographed by Arnie Zane in collaboration with Bill T. Jones; first performed at the Theatre de la Ville in Paris, France; music by David Cunningham; spoken text by Jones; set/visuals by Gretchen Bender; lighting by William DeMull.

    Secret Pastures (1985)—choreographed by Arnie Zane in collaboration with Bill T. Jones; first performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn, New York; music by Peter Gordon; set by Keith Haring; costumes by Willi Smith; hair/make-up/face painting by Marcel Fieve; lighting by Stan Pressner.

    The Animal Trilogy (1986)—choreographed by Arnie Zane in collaboration with Bill T. Jones and commissioned in part by the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York; first performed at the Biennale Internationalde de la Danse in Lyon, France; music by Conlon Nancarrow; sets by Cletus Johnson; costumes by Bill Katz; lighting by Robert Wierzel.

    The Gift/No God Logic (1987)—choreographed by Arnie Zane; first performance Saint Mark's Church, New York City; music from Verdi's La Forza del Destino; costumes by Demian Acquavella; lighting by Robert Wierzel; performed by 4 dancers.

    Where the Queen Stands Guard (1987)—choreographed by Arnie Zane in collaboration with Bill T. Jones on commission by the St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble; first performed at the Triplex Theater at the Community College of New York City (Manhattan); music by Vittorio Rieti (performed by the St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble); set/costumes by Frank L. Viner; lighting by Robert Wierzel.

    Red Room (1987)—choreographed by Arnie Zane in collaboration with Bill T. Jones; first performed at the Ohio Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio; music by Charles R. Amirkhanian and Gene Tyranny; lighting by Robert Wierzel.

    Prejudice (1988)—choreographed by Arnie Zane; first performed Cleveland, Ohio; music by Astor Piazzolla; lighting by Robert Wierzel; costumes by Arnie Zane; performed by 3 dancers.

    Like in Egypt (1988)—choreographed by Arnie Zane; first performed Cleveland, Ohio; music traditional Middle Eastern; lighting by Robert Wierzel; costumes by Demian Acquavella; performed by 3 dancers.

    The History of Collage (1988)—choreographed by Arnie Zane in collaboration with Bill T. Jones; first performed in Cleveland, Ohio; music by Charles R. Amirkhanian and "Blue" Gene Tyranny.

    After Black Room (1993)—choreographed by Arnie Zane and re-staged by Bill T. Jones; first performed at the Cannes Festivale Internationale de la Danse in Cannes, France; set by Robert Wierzel after Zane; lighting by Wierzel.

    BIBLIOGRAPHY:

    • Foster, Susan Leigh. 2001. "Simply(?) the Doing of It, Like Two Arms Going Round and Round." Moving History/Dancing Cultures: A Dance History Reader. Eds. Ann Dils and Ann Cooper Albright. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press. 427-438.
    • Greskovic, Robert. 1987. Ballett International. 10 (3) (March): 28, 30.
    • Meisner, Nadine. 1982. "Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane." Dance and Dancers (November): 32-33. illus.
    • Smith, Amanda. 1981. "Arnie Zane [The Kitchen, New York, May 7-10, 1981]." Dance Magazine (November): 49, 100-105.
    • Tegeder, Ulrich. 1984. "Bill T. Jones & Arnie Zane: Interview." Ballett International 7 (9) (September):19-21, illus.
    • Zane, Arnie. 1999. Continuous Replay: the Photographs of Arnie Zane. Edited by Jonathan Green; introduction by Bill T. Jones; with essays by Susan Leigh Foster ... [et al.]. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press; Riverside, Calif.: UCR/California Museum of Photography, University of California.
    • Zimmer, Elizabeth. 1982. "Arnie Zane and Dancers [P. S. 122, N. Y., Sept. 11-13, 1981]." Dance Magazine (January): 40-45.
    • _______. 1984. "An Advancing Army of Tenderness: Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane Coming in from the Country." On the Next Wave. Brooklyn, New York Brooklyn Academy of Music 2 (3) (November):10-13.
    • ________, and Susan Quasha, eds. 1989. Body Against Body: The Dance and Other Collaborations of Bill T. Jones & Arnie Zane. New York: Station Hill Press.
     
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