After the international success of their duets, Jones and Zane felt ready to expand and share their adventure with a group of dancers, giving life to the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in 1982.
For decades, post-modern dancers had promoted the idea of the democratic body; Jones and Zane, through their selection of company members, were the first to realize this goal. The company was a motley crew of talented dancers that best represented the energy of New York. Among all the contemporary companies, it was also one of the few to challenge the conventions and rules dictated by the avant-garde, with the reintroduction of narrative structures into their performances.
Secret Pastures (1984) can be considered the most representative work of those years with its meta-investigation of dance history and indirect confrontation with questions of identity through a playful and subversive use of irony. Keith Haring’s set design, and Peter Gordon’s music contributed in reinforcing the aesthetics of the company as a leading member of the innovative community. Its glamorous gayness was a loud alternative to the mainstream culture, such as Hollywood, promoting conservative gender and family values with sculpted bodies in suits during the Reagan era.
The same vein of irony and playfulness can be found in a more recent multi-layered extravaganza, based on a puppet play by Jane Bowles, A Quarreling Pair (2007).