What happens to a work of art when time displaces it from its original context and from the impulse that inspired it? That is a question that can elicit dry theories. But in Can You Bring It ?: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters, a new documentary by Tom Hurwitz and Rosalynde LeBlanc Loo, the answer is passionate and moving.

Jones is a co-founder of the Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Company, a modern dance group. It grew out of the performer duo that Jones formed with his partner Zane, who wasn’t a dancer in the early 1970s.

Zane died in 1988 of AIDS-related lymphoma. The film gives a moving overview of their work-life collaboration before delving into the choices Jones made after Zane’s death. One of these decisions was the piece “D-Man in the Waters”.

The dance was inspired by a series of group improvisations. It was a mirror of the troop’s experiences, their struggles and their losses. As a choreography, it has since been performed by dozen of college and professional companies. “Can you bring it with you?” Jones asks a group of dancers at Loyola Marymount College in 2016 as they prepare the piece under the direction of Loo, a former member of the Jones / Zane Company.

These students have little knowledge of AIDS, so Jones and Loo ask them to find points in their lives where they struggle as part of a student community and in other ways. The cut between vintage recordings by Company Jones / Zane and the student production as well as recordings from another contemporary production of the piece – recorded with an intimacy on stage that is reminiscent of the in-the-ring segments of Martin Scorsese’s “Raging Bull” – ensure an unusually lively documentary experience.

Can you bring it with you: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 34 minutes. In theaters.