Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company — Blind Date

McCarter Theater Center, Princeton, New Jersey, May 16, 2006

A Review

I feel as though I have been to real dance theater for the first time in quite a while.

The set (screens, scrims, and frames), all hung to fly, was there before it “happened”—with motion captions, dialogues (in several languages) and graphics variously projected. As the audience filtered in they were introduced to the serious agenda of Blind Date. Who could quarrel with its theme? War is seductive; it is engendered by doctrine, both secular and religious. It is addictive, and Bill T. makes that clear by liking war to nicotine: we really could give it up if both God and we were willing.

I didn’t mind having a literary theme a bit, because the production was so well knit, all pieces lending to the whole. And the glorious dancing!! Not a disconcerting mover in the lot, a full dozen, I believe. Who could count (or would want to) with the stage as active as a stirred up ant hill? The intricate and apt group choreography was sometimes as sedate and well knit as a pavane, sometimes as exuberant and scattered as a barn dance. In one dance the company sang the “Star-spangled Banner”—a battle dance (which we see again in a reprise) wherein one dancer and then another falls backward to the ground.

Preview clip of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company’s multimedia dance titled Blind Date

Blind Date illustrates the seduction of war through a costumed duck. The duck chooses to don another costume—the uniform—and then in a melee of a dance, ends in a torrent of feathers. There are so many, many wonderful bits of solos, duets, trios, and... My kinetic pouch is just stuffed.

Every contributing artist is to be truly commended for pooling their time and talents to the making of a great piece for our time.

—Ruth Grauert,
May 17, 2006