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What might happen to a dance after the final iteration?

“Unfinishing” is an evolving improvised performance practice that reflects upon completed works after they are performed. I return to a “finished” or previously performed work and bring the choreography and its associated collaborators and rehearsal ephemera back into a lab setting in order to physically research the work’s becoming, logic, and ways of holding meaning. As a companion process, I create process archives which include videos, writings, choreographic design, and an extensive research bibliography. This project both preserves the depth and range of my choreographic research, and troubles the notion of a “completed” work. I substantiate my dances’ presence via the archive while also leaving room for their transformation, evolution, and transience. Historically, my “unfinishing” processes have been shared experiments with fellow choreographers, wherein both choreographers participate in a shared performance or residency space. This project is driven by a desire for creative companionship, and an interest in finding new ways to attend and relate to the work of my peers.

“Unfinishing” began with choreographer Kate Seethaler in 2016. We had presented our works alongside each other in a “split-bill” on many occasions, and we were interested in bringing those works together in space and time, and exploring the post-performance dimension of our dances’ trajectories. We drew influence from Merce Cunningham’s chance procedure and Susan Rethorst’s “dance wrecking” and developed many of our own devices to keep our two dances in relationship to each other.

This research took shape at Northampton’s A.P.E Gallery, in a shared installation project with Kate, following a shared performance at the School for Contemporary Dance and Thought a month earlier. It continued at a Visiting Residency at the Iron Factory in Philadelphia, and was performed at Boston’s Villa Victoria in 2018.

Our first “Unfinishing” at APE Gallery:

Unfinishing at A.P.E. Gallery– Excerpts from Barbie Diewald on Vimeo.

Unfinishing” at We Create Festival in Boston (with Jenny Bennett, Barbie Diewald, Kate Seethaler, Steph Turner)

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