SNF Parkway Virtual Theatre

CAN YOU BRING IT: BILL T. JONES AND D-MAN IN THE WATERS

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Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters brings to life the creative process that culminated in choreographer-dancer-director Bill T. Jones’s tour de force ballet D-Man in the Waters, one of the most important works of art to come out of the AIDS crisis. In 1989, D-Man in the Waters gave physical manifestation to the fear, anger, grief, and hope for salvation that the emerging Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company (both partners at the time) felt as they were embattled by the AIDS epidemic. As a group of young dancers in the present re-interpret the work, they deepen their understanding of its power – exploring what is at stake in their own lives in order to commit and perform it successfully. Through an extraordinary collage of interviews, archival material, and uniquely powerful cinematography, this lyrical documentary uses the story of this iconic dance to illustrate the power of art and the triumph of the human spirit.


D-Man in the Waters is Jones’ seminal performance and one of the most significant works of art to come out of the era of AIDS. In this exhilarating work by Kennedy Center Honoree, MacArthur Grant awardee and Tony Award-winner Bill T. Jones (Fela!, Spring Awakening), rigorous formalism and musicality embody resilience and triumph over loss. The piece captures the infectious energy, innocence and will to survive of a beleaguered generation, and though it deals with sorrow, it maintains a defiantly celebratory tone. Felix Mendelssohn’s soaring Octet for Strings propels the non-stop momentum, sending the dancers hurling across the stage in a whirlwind of leaps, rolls, and slides. Jones has said that the fact that Mendelssohn was just 16 years old when he composed the work resonated strongly with him. “This piece was created when we were dealing with a lot of death,” he said. “So creating this work was for us a way of dealing with grief, by finding the joy in the music this 16-year-old boy created.” Jones’ tour-de-force was awarded a New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Award and is praised for being one of the finest examples of the post-modern dance aesthetic. The New York Times called it “a stylish, impassioned outpouring of movement.”


“Critic’s Pick! Passionate and moving… an unusually lively documentary experience.” – Glenn Kenny, The New York Times

  • Year
    2020
  • Runtime
    90 minutes
  • Language
    English
  • Country
    United States
  • Premiere
    DOC NYC
  • Director
    Rosalynde LeBlanc, Tom Hurwitz, ASC
  • Producer
    Rosalynde LeBlanc, Duana C. Butler
  • Executive Producer
    Karen Dial
  • Cast
    Bill T. Jones, Arthur Avilés, Johari Briggs, Seán Curran, Lawrence Goldhuber, Gregg Hubbard, Heidi Latsky, Janet Lilly, Betsy McCracken
  • Cinematographer
    Tom Hurwitz, ASC
  • Editor
    Ann Collins
  • Sound Design
    Alan Barker, Peter Miller
  • Music
    Thomas Rutishauser