Documentary by Hollins Alumna Wins Peabody Award

Documentary by Hollins Alumna Wins Peabody Award

Accolades and Awards, Alumnae/i, Graduate Studies

May 23, 2024

Documentary by Hollins Alumna Wins Peabody Award Can You Bring It

A film coproduced by a Hollins Dance M.F.A. alumna about renowned choreographer Bill T. Jones and his epic ballet, “D-Man in the Waters,” has won a 2024 Peabody Award.

Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters, a documentary by Rosalynde LeBlanc M.F.A. ’11 and Tom Hurwitz, will be honored at the 84th Annual Peabody Awards on Sunday, June 9, in Beverly Hills, California. The film is one of 34 projects to receive the distinction this year out of 1,100 entries.

“We are profoundly honored to have our work recognized by this award that speaks to excellence in storytelling,” said LeBlanc and Hurwitz, “and we sincerely thank everyone involved with us in funding, making, and distributing Can You Bring It.”

Jones’ ballet is considered to be one of the most important works of art to come out of the age of AIDS. Can You Bring It takes viewers to LeBlanc’s dance studio at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where her students grapple with learning “D-Man in the Waters.” It also transports the audience back to 1989, when the dance was created by Jones as members of the Bill T. Jones /Arnie Zane Company were themselves besieged by the AIDS pandemic. Dancers in the company reflect on the devastating losses of their fellow, beloved members. Back in the studio, LeBlanc’s current-day students work to master the intense physicality of the piece and to understand a period in America before they were alive. Soon they face the formidable Jones himself as he drops in to observe rehearsals and offer feedback.

The documentary received unanimous critical acclaim during its theatrical release. Kimber Myers of the Los Angeles Times said, “Death and grief may exist in the soul of ‘D-Man in the Waters’ but Can You Bring It is full of vitality and energy, a testament to the power of art in the face of tragedy.”

The film opened season 15 of the popular documentary series Afro PoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange, coproduced by Black Public Media (BPM) and WORLD. It was co-presented and distributed to public television stations by American Public Television. In honor of the Peabody win, Can You Bring It has been rereleased on WORLD’s YouTube channel. Viewers may watch the documentary for free on the BPM website and through July 9.

Can You Bring It was made possible by grants from Loyola Marymount University’s College of Communication and Fine Arts, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Drollinger Family Charitable Foundation, and the Ford Foundation’s JustFilms.