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Profile: Bill T. Jones, a master of modern dance

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But Jones has not stopped wanting more. Returning early last month to the world of contemporary dance, he staged three works from those early years of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. "Body Against Body," a revival of pieces he created and performed with Zane, premièred last month at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art. Jones cast a man and a woman, rather than two men, in one of the duets.

"Arnie's no longer here. I'm not the same person. These works must now be seen for their ideas," Jones remarks, speaking by telephone for two interviews, and in person during the Boston weekend.

The idea of a dance studio was new to Jones when he met Zane and attended his first class in 1971, a year after he entered the State University of New York, Binghamton. He remembers dancing as a child with his brothers and sisters in their living room. "We were making up steps," he says. Even after starting classes, "I didn't dance with any great master," he recalls. "There were a lot of dance traditions besides the white man's modern dance."

Zane and Jones became a couple and collaborators on stage. Their works followed a path blazed by Merce Cunningham and the Judson Church experimentalists. Athletic moves and everyday tasks, stripped of décor and artifice, story and characterizations, became the stuff of their performances, enlivened by movement discovered through contact improvisation.

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