a digital ritual

I Know...

Bill T. Jones, Ruben van Leer, the audience

final Holland Festival 2.0-2.0
8 pm
video collage

You are looking at a performance from our archive

‘Fragmented times’ is how associate artist Bill T. Jones describes the period we’re living in, with its rising divisiveness. He sets out to look for a we, together with the audience. Where his production Deep Blue Sea would have had him dancing with a hundred people from the local community on the same stage, ‘in times of social distancing’ he invites people - anyone who feels like it! - to individually record a short video about something they know deep down and feel strongly about - expressed in words and gestures. These individual entries, which each begin with the words ‘I know...’ are turned into a visual mosaic by the video artist Ruben van Leer that will grow as the festival advances and more people participate. The strong words and gestures of all these individuals - brought together in a dynamic design based on complex data visualisation techniques and a refined sound design - substantiate a larger, collective knowing.

I Know... part 1 - 6


Choreographer, dancer, director and writer Bill T. Jones (1952, United States) studied classical ballet and modern dance at the State University of New York in the 1970s.

After having lived in Amsterdam for a time, Jones and his partner Arnie Zane joined the experimental choreographers’ collective American Dance Asylum. In 1982 they founded Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. Jones created more than a hundred works for his company, and in addition he has had large-scale works commissioned by major companies such as the Boston Ballet, the Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon and the Staatsballett Berlin. Since 2011 he has been the artistic director of New York Live Arts in Manhattan.

Jones has become increasingly interested in other disciplines, such as literature and musical theatre. He also perceives that as the body changes with age, dance changes and so do, he says, ‘your ambitions as an artist... I think older artists have a wider range. They do more with less, so in that sense they’re more strategic and stronger.’

His relationship with the Holland Festival goes back to 1981, with Valley Cottage, one of the duets that Jones and Arnie Zane had created in The Kitchen in New York. Works such as D-Man in the Waters (1991) and the controversial and confrontational production Still Here (1996) were frequently presented in the Netherlands between 1991 and 2007 by Het Muziektheater as part of their guest programming series. In 2011 the Holland Festival presented his award-winning musical Fela!, and in 2019 the Opera Forward Festival presented the opera We Shall Not Be Moved, which Jones directed and choreographed. This year he is an associate artist with the Holland Festival, where several of his works will be presented, including the large-scale, ambitious Deep Blue Sea.

Jones has received many awards for his multifaceted work, from a MacArthur ‘Genius’ Award in 1994 to Kennedy Center Honors in 2010. He received the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award in 2014 and won a Tony for Best Choreography for his work on Spring Awakening (2007) and Fela! (2010). In 2010 the French government named him an ‘Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres’; he has received honorary doctorates from the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College, Juilliard School, Yale University, and other institutions. In 2013 he was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Obama and he received the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award in 2016.



General Idea & Concept
Bill T. Jones
Film & Digital Creation
Ruben Van Leer
Commissioned & Produced by
Holland Festival
Motion Design
Social Video Generator
Web Design
Martijn De Heer
Web Development
Amir Houieh
Sound Design
Henry Vega
Video Capture
Essay Video
Assistent Curator
Micha Zaat
Digital Production
Special thanks to all the amazing participants of the project - searchable and credited on Vimeo!
This project is a spinoff from the live production Deep Blue Sea, originally commissioned by Park Avenue Armory, New York and Manchester International Festival, New York Live Arts with additional commissioning support provided by The Mann Center for the Performing Arts and The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Philadelphia, PA in association with Holland Festival.