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DETROIT, Mich. –— Michigan Opera Theatre, in partnership with the University Musical Society, will open its 2018-19 dance series with the Detroit Opera House debut of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company Oct. 27. The multidisciplinary company is considered to be one of the most powerful influences in the dance-theater world and will perform “A Letter to My Nephew,” a piece about the struggle and addiction of a young man set in a larger political context, including incorporating pieces of Detroit culture. MOT will present one performance Saturday, Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m.
“’A Letter to my Nephew’ is a powerful work that will resonate with anyone who has struggled to overcome adversity or to assist someone in those circumstances,” said MOT Principal Conductor Stephen Lord. “We are proud to present such an important piece to our patrons and welcome the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company on their debut performance at the Detroit Opera House.”
“A Letter to My Nephew” is the latest dance theater work of company co-founder Bill T. Jones and relays the story of his nephew Lance T. Briggs. On the way to a promising dance career, Briggs struggled with drug addiction, leading to prostitution and eventually becoming paraplegic.
Jones’s cultural critique is rewritten for the time and place of every performance and will be unique to Detroit, incorporating references to local culture, customs and architecture as they relate to world events. It is composed like a series of postcards sent home and launches a swirl of images around Briggs — a vogue ball, a breathtaking vista and a scene of forced migration — as he lies in a hospital bed. Using conversations with his nephew, Jones navigates familial relationships within the context of a larger socio-political history. The performances features projections by Janet Wong, a score by Nick Hallett and a live performance by baritone Matthew Gamble and Hallett.
In addition to the performance, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company will offer a master class the morning of the Oct. 27 performance from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Detroit Opera House Margo V. Cohen Dance Studio. The class is open to intermediate to advanced level dance students ages 13 and up. Attendance is $25 or free with a corresponding performance ticket. Pre-registration is required and can be done online at michiganopera.org/learning/dance-education/.
Tickets for the performance are $30 to $100 and may be purchased online at MichiganOpera.org, by calling 313-237-7464 or in person at the Detroit Opera House which is located at 1526 Broadway, Detroit. For more information visit: michiganopera.org/dance/bill-t-jones/.