Arnie Zane, Post-Modern Dancer, Is Dead at Age 39

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Arnie Zane a photographer turned dancer who was half of the Bill T. Jones-Arnie Zane & Co. post-modern dance troupe, died at his home in Valley Cottage, N.Y., Wednesday night.

Zane was 39. A spokesman for the company said he had been ill with lymphoma related to AIDS.

With Jones and a youthful company of about 10 dancers, Zane toured the country staging the movements they had choreographed. Their professional and personal partnership began in 1971 when Zane, then an art photographer, teamed with Jones, the son of a migrant farm worker who was an athlete and actor in college.


They made an unlikely team: Jones is tall and muscular and his dancing expansive, while Zane, short and wiry, leaped about the stage in bursts of nervous energy.

‘Accessible, Fun’

Zane once told a Los Angeles Times writer that their work was “something that is accessible, fun, but doesn’t seem to be a message. What we do doesn’t have emotion implicit in it. It’s a structure of activities that interact with the music and can create a context of its own.”

After working with the American Dance Asylum, Jones and Zane premiered their first full work, “Intuitive Momentum,” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 1982 Next Wave Festival.

Their early work became known for improvisation but later dances, such as their well-known “Secret Pastures” were more structured.

Their other dances, either performed for their own company or commissioned by others, include “Monkey Run Road,” “Blauvelt Mountain” (which received the German Critics Award), “Valley Cottage” and “Fever Swamp.”

Held Fellowships

Individually, Zane held two Creative Artists Public Service Fellowships: for photography in 1973 and for choreography in 1981. He also was awarded two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1983 and 1984.


In 1986, he and Jones were recipients of New York’s Dance Performance Award (the “Bessie”) for their 1985 season.

Zane is survived by his parents, a brother and a sister.