Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

Event Slides Per Node 1415

  • Four dancers in the foreground hold up a man held stiff with arms and legs outstretched while four dancers behind pose as if they are trying to reach the first group.
  • Multiple masked dancers stand in various directions in two main clusters.
  • A small group of dancers surround a woman with outstretched arms leaning toward a man with his arms and a leg outstretched.

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company
What Problem?

7:30 pm Friday, February 11, 2022

What Problem? explores the tension between belonging to a community and feelings of isolation that many people have during these divisive political times. Bill T. Jones adapted What Problem? for proscenium stages from his massive work Deep Blue Sea (2020). He conceived this highly personal work in pursuit of the elusive “we.”

Jones and his company develop content with community members in each location to which the production tours. The Center for the Performing Arts presentation will feature a collaboration with dancers from Penn State and nearby areas.

What Problem? features deconstructed text from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. It reflects on King’s immortal words — we shall overcome — mixed with the scripture of our democracy as formed and shaped by WE THE PEOPLE. 

An uneasy recognition of the truth has always resided at the base of the great W. E. B. Du Bois statement concerning “the problem of the color line.” In our fractious era, What Problem? elaborates on this line in terms of sexual politics, gender identity, class struggles, and immigration.

A two-time Tony Award winner (FELA! and Spring Awakening), Jones is a multitalented artist, choreographer, dancer, theatre director, and writer. 

Artistic Viewpoints will not be offered before this event. After the performance, representatives from the touring company and selected State College-area participants will speak with interested audience members.

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Adult $46
University Park Student $15
18 and Younger $36

This Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company appearance is part of the Center for the Performing Arts Fierce Urgency Festival, with a theme this season of Hope-Resist-Heal.

This presentation is part of The Reflection Project, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The presentation of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company in What Problem? was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

A grant from the University Park Student Fee Board makes Penn State student prices possible.