My choreography is continuous to my processes as a performer, scholar and teacher.
My work relates to ideas of embodiment, collaboration, and processes of becoming and unbecoming. It is performed in formal proscenium theaters, intimate studio settings, art galleries, and at festivals locally, regionally and internationally. The ethos of my work is guided by formalism, improvisation, and theoretical research.
I make collaborative performances, often including live interactive visual and sonic elements. The affiliation of music and dance is central to my research. From my four year collaboration with multimedia composer Jazer Giles, to participating in a Collective Composition residency with ten international musicians and choreographers at Banff Centre, to collaborating with live orchestras and conductors in opera productions, I ask of the music/dance relationship: “what else?” What else can these forms contribute to one another? How else might we meet? What models for collaboration have gone unexplored? Collaboration leavens my research with a sense of play, but it also asks me to quiet my assumptions and listen.
I return consistently to creating concrete ranges between oppositional forces. My dances live in these continuums: between agreement and disagreement, sacred and quotidian, obedience and wilderness. I bring chance procedures into my rehearsal process in order to destabilize the dominant paradigms in my work and create other possibilities. I see each dance I make as a responsive system with its own weather, ecology, and muscularity.
Barbie Diewald is a choreographer, performer, and teacher based in New England. Originally from Chicago, she trained at the Chicago Festival Ballet, Midwest Ballet Theatre, and Lou Conte Dance Center. In 2008, Barbie moved to New York, where she co-founded TrioDance Collective alongside Emily Jeffries. The company produced seven New York Seasons, including an interdisciplinary work with the Nouveau Classical Project at BAM, and was recognized as “a consistent force in the vast scene of emerging choreographers in NYC (Dance Informa).”
Diewald has developed her work with the support of numerous awards and residencies, including a 2018 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship in Choreography, Banff Centre’s Rick & Brune Sinneave Artist Award, a 2016 Bogliasco Fellowship, the New England Foundation for the Arts’ New England Dance Fund Award, and a grant from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. She was selected twice as a choreographer for New York Live Arts’ Bessie Schonberg Lab in Composition (with Gwen Welliver and Tere O’Connor respectively) as well as Susan Marshall’s SUMAC Choreographic research program, and was a recipient of Chen Dance Center’s New Steps Residency and the Upstart Residency at Brooklyn Arts Exchange. In 2016 she was an artist-in-residence at Ponderosa, an experimental dance center in Stoltzenhagen, Germany, and in 2018 she was visiting artist-in-residence at the Iron Factory in Philadelphia.
Diewald’s work has been commissioned and presented nationally at Brooklyn Academy of Music, the 92nd Street Y, Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out, The Center for Performance Research, Mark Morris Dance Center, Dixon Place, The Chocolate Factory (THROW), The Cunningham Studios at Westbeth, Villa Victoria Center for the Arts (Boston), and the School for Contemporary Dance and Thought (Northampton, MA). Internationally, she has performed at Ponderosa, The Bogliasco Foundation Centre (Italy), and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (Canada).
Diewald has collaborated and performed with Katie Martin, Bronwen MacArthur and Stephanie Maher, and she engages in a ongoing improvisational performance project, “Unfinishing,” with choreographer Kate Seethaler. She is the resident choreographer at PanOpera, and has developed contemporary ballet and choreographic intensives for the Pioneer Valley Ballet. She makes her work within the framework of Barbie Diewald Choreography, a practice-led research group that performs throughout New England.
Presently, Barbie is a Visiting Professor of Dance at Mount Holyoke College and the Five College Dance Department. She has previously taught at Keene State College and Smith College, where she was an MFA Teaching fellow. Her current scholarly research is rooted in developing inclusive language and practices for teaching experiential anatomy and dance to non-binary and transgender students in academia.