By Kelly Dean Hansen | Daily Camera Classical Music Writer
There was a time when the New York-based Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company traveled with the same musicians when it toured the country.
For economic reasons, musicians no longer tour with the dancers, but the group decided live music is essential to its aesthetic. So the decision was made to perform touring programs with local musicians. According to Janet Wong, the troupe's associate artistic director, it was either "we do it with live music or we don't do it at all."
The nine-member company, founded in 1982, performs Thursday night in Macky Auditorium as part of the CU Presents Artist Series. Accompanying them is the Altius String Quartet, graduate quartet in residence at CU's College of Music, along with four additional graduate string players.
The program, "Play and Play" is a fusion of dance and classical music. Three pieces with chamber music will be danced at Macky.
"We dance the same, whether it is a world-famous string quartet or a student ensemble," Wang told the Camera.
The musicians' preparation involves one rehearsal with music director Pauline Kim Harris in which questions of tempo and timing are addressed.
"We are at the mercy of what (the dancers) need," cellist Zachary Reaves said on behalf of the Altius Quartet. "We have been practicing with recordings from their performances to get an idea of how we need to prepare."