6. Foreword/Afterword (2012-2017)

They delivered what they promised—no easy task, especially with the rules of their practice: no music, no talking (save a few giggles), learn what I just did, add material, take it from the top, repeat. The result: a no-frills, but satisfying little phrase of embodied movement (featuring a semi-head stand), with enough variation to prove the trio’s sharp ability to improvise while watching and to memorize instantly.
          -Debbie Shapiro. Bridging Choreographers with ZIPLINE. Thinking-dance.net. 5 June 2013.

Role: Co-director, Performer.  Description: An improvisational trio score co-created with Annie Kloppenberg and Meredith Lyons, Foreword/Afterword is a performance, workshop, and research platform.  Project website: forewordafterword.com


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Project Narrative

Foreword/Afterword is a piece in two parts and a structure for making a dance. In Foreword, the performers create a movement phrase by silent consensus: the three members of our trio are simultaneously moving and decoding the movement of our partners while remembering what we’ve just done.  This creative process prioritizes embodied logic.  Authorship inhabits the spaces between the bodies and minds of the collaborating artists, who are never leading and never only following.  In Afterword,  the trio reveals a new piece of  choreography each night. The physical material from Foreword becomes the information we mine as we collaborate backstage to create a new piece of “high stakes” choreography in the intermission or other performance works between Foreword and Afterword.

We use this structure to examine performance as research by exploring the distinctive nature of knowledge construction in and through dance performance. We  teach the score in workshops internationally and are inviting others to participate in performing and teaching it, with a set of agreements.

The Score

Below I describe the score that we distribute through our website and in workshops.  It is continuously in revision.  We distribute it freely, but ask those who use it to share their thoughts, results, and developments of the score with us, as well follow some simple guidelines for rehearsal and performance. Here is a link to the score in our website.

Foreword (also known as Phase 1): Make a unison phrase as a performance

  • No talking
  • No communicative gesture to indicate agreement or questions
  • Never stop moving
  • Restart whenever necessary
  • Simultaneously and always:
    • Learn the phrase and create the phrase
    • Follow your own impulse
    • Attend to the others with the idea of learning & meeting
    • You are never the leader, you are never only a follower

Afterword (also known as Phase 2): Make a dance (and perform it)

  • Make a good dance by any means possible
  • You can’t throw away the whole phrase

General Musings on the score

  • The whole score is a performance
  • The whole score is an improvisation
  • Decisions must be made differently and distinctly in each phase
  • Connect your curiosity with the task in every moment
  • Do not try to “solve” it too early
  • Multiple dialogues: embrace the complexity of simultaneously receiving, transmitting, composing, remembering, asserting, accepting, compromising
  • Source Phase 2 from the physical logic developed in Phase 1
  • Create the conditions for insight into the world
  • Do not feign agreement
  • The clashing of aesthetics is an important part of this process
  • Question authorship; attend to the interstices
  • Limited time exerts a force

We have taught the score in workshops internationally and are inviting others to participate in performing it, with a set of  agreements.

Recent teaching:

  • IDocDE Symposium on Contemporary Dance Education at Impulstanz. Vienna, Austria. July 24-26, 2015. (Boggia, Kloppenberg, Lyons)
  • SDHS/CORD Joint Congress. Athens, Greece. June 4-11, 2015. (Boggia, Kloppenberg, Lyons)
  • CU Boulder. Boulder, Colorado. January, 2015. (Boggia, Kloppenberg)
  • Connecticut College. New London, Connecticut. April, 2014. (Boggia)
  • 95 Empire. Providence, Rhode Island. May, 2014. (Boggia)


We use this structure to examine performance as research and to explore the distinctive nature  of knowledge construction in and through dance.  Kloppenberg presented on this at the 2014 SDHS/CORD conference. click here for her abstract.


ZIPLINE. Performing Garage. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. May 2013.

NACHMO 2014. Green Street Studios. Cambridge, Massachusetts. February 7&8, 2014. (Boggia and Lyons)

Channel/Dance Boston. Boston, Massachusetts. February 13& 14, 2015.


Shapiro, Debbie.  Bridging Choreographers with ZIPLINE. 5 June, 2013.
link: http://thinkingdance.net/articles/2013/06/05/Bridging-Choreographers-with-ZIPLINE
Review PDF

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