Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man In The Waters shows new generations performing a dance piece that made waves during the late 80s. It is also 60% emotion and 40% technique in a movie that needs both. Viewers need to know how much they made the piece as well as how that piece resonates with the audiences who saw it. It’s nice to see the technique side of this. It interviews members of the original dance troupe who tell us how they came up with certain moves. That process reminds me of the people I went to university with who had to draw 50 different uses of a chair. These dancers, coming from all sides of the LGBT2+ spectrum, had to come up with different ways to dive into the water. That’s helpful information since we all know that the water is a metaphor for the AIDS crisis.
Can You Bring It‘s key moments are those interviews as much as there are enough moments when present generations are learning the piece. A dance teacher and the documentary’s co-director is trying to make that piece relevant. It needs both a 1980s and a 2010s context. There’s a part of me that wishes that there’s an equal focus on those generations. But it’s also important to give a spotlight to a past generation who endured AIDS. As a gay man who started being sexually active in the mid 2000s, every sexual partner was an armchair virologist. It shocks me that people have forgotten about AIDS. If anything, this movie shows the connections between the disease and dance, the artistic medium that dared to discuss the disease in its own way. There aren’t enough media that cover both AIDS and dance. This film fights that brave fight.