Douglas Dunn, Time Out

Siobhan Burke: Aftermaths of Dances

Siobhan Burke sees a lot of dance. Her collection of images on Instagram captures the moment after a performance is done. Maybe the audience lingers on stage. Maybe the scattered detritus evokes memories of the dancers who made it so. Maybe you were there, at that one show, too. But most striking are the empty chairs. Seats we never thought we would long for. What will a row of chairs mean in this new future? With so many unknown factors, we thought to share a selection of Siobhan's photos to reflect on where we’ve come from, to remind us where we can go. 

-- Leslie Cuyjet, co-editor


I used to not have a phone that could take photos. I also used to not have Instagram. But I acquired one, and then the other. Sometimes I miss not having them. I wonder what it was like.

When I watch a performance, I put my phone away. It can take me a moment to stop feeling its presence, its pull on my attention. Sometimes I’m tempted to check it, but I try not to. If I do, it’s only when I’m really bored. Then I’ll check the time.

Depending on the show, and whether recording is allowed, I might use my phone to take a photo or video. Even when I choose to do that, I never feel quite right about it. My relationship to the work becomes acquisitive, as if I’m trying to hold onto it, or prove that I was there, rather than just letting it happen and letting that be enough. Plus, if I were dancing, I don’t think I’d want to be watched through people’s phones.

A few years ago, I started taking pictures of performances when they were over: whatever remained onstage as the audience left. I would post them on Instagram with the hashtag #aftermathsofdances (clunky but accurate). It became a way to keep a record of what I was seeing, and to share that with others, without intruding on the work or confusing my experience of it. I tried to get other people to use the hashtag, to post aftermaths of their own, and within a very small circle, it caught on.

I’m writing, unexpectedly, in the past tense. The last time I went to a live performance was on March 11, more than six weeks ago. I don’t know when I’ll go again. We’ve entered an aftermath of a larger scale. I guess these images have always conveyed a sense of absence or loss. Now I look at them and feel fortunate to have gathered so many times, with so many people, for ending after ending.

-- Siobhan Burke



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Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, The Six Brandenburg Concertos

Park Avenue Armory

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Ashley R. T. Yergens, prettygirl264264

Abrons Arts Center

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Colin Dunne, Concert

Baryshnikov Arts Center

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Yvonne Rainer, Parts of Some Sextets

Gelsey Kirkland Arts Center

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Sarah Michelson, September2017/\

Fisher Center at Bard College

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Marjani Forté-Saunders, Memoirs of a ... Unicorn

Collapsable Hole

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Aileen Passloff, Sundays on Broadway

Cathy Weis Projects

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Moriah Evans, Figuring

SculptureCenter

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Jonathan González, ZERO

Danspace Project

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Erin Markey, Singlet

The Bushwick Starr

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Mariaa Randall, Footwork/Technique

Performance Space New York

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jumatatu m. poe, Let 'im Move You: This is a Formation

Abrons Arts Center

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Kim Brandt, Problems

MoMA PS1

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Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, Séancers

Abrons Arts Center

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Movement Research at Judson Church

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Dean Moss, Petra

Performance Space New York

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Gillian Walsh, Moon Fate Sin

Danspace Project

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Melinda Ring/Special Projects and Renée Archibald, Shiny Angles In Angular Time

The Chocolate Factory

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Skeleton Architecture

Danspace Project

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Anna Sperber, Wealth From The Salt Seas

The Chocolate Factory

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Big Dance Theater, 17C

BAM

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Larissa Velez-Jackson, Zapatografia/Shoegraphy

Abrons Arts Center

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Kota Yamazaki, Darkness Odyssey Part 2: I Or Hallucination

Baryshnikov Arts Center

All images are courtesy of Siobhan Burke.

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​Siobhan Burke

Siobhan Burke lives in New York City, where she writes about dance and other modes of live performance. A regular contributor to the New York Times, she has written for Artforum.com, The Brooklyn Rail...
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