In the psychoanalysis of Sigmund Freud, afterwardsness is “a mode of belated understanding or retroactive attribution of sexual or traumatic meaning to earlier events… “
Jettisoning the sexual component and emphasizing the notion of “trauma”, this awkward though evocative term comes very close to describing Bill T. Jones’ state of mind when offered a commission to create a socially-distanced work at this particular collective moment. In some ways, the title parodies Jones’ (and many others’) desire to have reached an end point to our twin pandemics: COVID-19 and on-going violence against Black bodies.
The piece was constructed quickly and within the constraints and uncertainty of social distancing. Afterwardsness engages a retrospective dimension from choreographic assignments given to the dancers during their isolation. The dancers studied archival videos and learned phrase material no longer in the company’s repertory and dating as far back as 40 years. Musical Director Pauline Kim Harris, in collaboration with composer/vocalist/ instrumentalist Holland Andrews, created a composite score that includes Kim’s original work Homage written in honor of George Floyd. Following the work’s retroactive logic, the score also includes a conscious excerpting of Olivier Messiaen’s great war-time composition Quartet for the End of Time.
Bill T. Jones, Creator, Director, & Choreographer
Janet Wong, Associate Artistic Director
Brian H. Scott, Lighting Designer
Mark Grey, Sound Designer
Pauline Kim Harris, Music Director, Violinist, & Composer
Holland Andrews, Composer, Vocalist
Fall 2021 North American Tour
October 24-25, 2021 – UMASS Fine Arts Center in Amherst, MA
October 27, 2021 – Arts Transcending Borders at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA
November 10-14, 2021 – Northrop, University of Minnesota & Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN
Originally commissioned and produced by Park Avenue Armory