Dance Performances - D-Man in the Waters (Part I)

About D-Man in the Waters (Part I)


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.”

“In a dream you saw a way to survive and you were full of joy.”
– conceptual artist Jenny Holzer

D-Man in the Waters is dedicated to Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company dancer
Demian Acquavella (1958-1990)

Performance Schedule & Tickets

There are no upcoming performances for this repertory piece.


Bill T. Jones


Janet Wong


Felix Mendelssohn


Liz Prince


Robert Wierzel

First Performance

1989, revised 1998 / Ailey Premiere 2013

Run Time

18 minutes

Groups 10+

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