Robbins' epic ballet Watermill is a meditative work that explores the transformative nature of time.
The score of Watermill stems mainly from the religious and theatrical music of Asia. It features the Shakuhachi, a bamboo flute used in the 13th century in Japan, played mainly by Zen Buddhist priests whose compositions for the instrument still survive. The majority of these musical-religious works are contemplative evocations of nature and the seasons.
The ballet itself is influenced by the music and theater of the East; however, its world, people, and events are not construed as Oriental.
—Jerome Robbins, 1972