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Jitterbug and the Aftermath

Co-Created by Vagabond Inventions and Dance Artist Donna Costello 

Jitterbug and the Aftermath is a raw, expressionistic performance work exploring an unmoored feminine identity at midlife. The piece wrestles with social conceptions of a diminishing feminine cachet, the confusion of “post-feminist” gender roles, and aging as a slow corporeal death. Two female figures, fragments of the same character – at times in harmony and at times combative – labor to reclaim ownership of their bodies, their value, and, ultimately, their humanity. The work weaves together gestural movement, comic clown states, text culled from dated feminist art, and an auditory score composed from the recorded sounds of the bodies and objects onstage.

Received a 2018 Classical Arts Award nomination for "Outstanding Dance Presentation (Short)" from the New Orleans Gambit. 

"It was beautiful and sad and funny... part elementary school slumber party, part Freudian study and part feminist manifesto.”

- Trina Mannino, Writer for Dance Enthusiast   



(Currently booking for 2020-22)

March 12-13, 2018

EstroGenius Festival

New York, NY

March 1-2, 2018

Definitive Figures Festival

New Orleans, LA

Excerpts and Presentations: 

January 6, 2019 


The JCC, New York, NY 

(20 min excerpt) 

November 14, 2018

"Sorry I Missed Your Show" Series

Gibney, New York, NY

(a discussion of Jitterbug and

contemporary practice)

January 20, 2018

Unheard Voices: New Orleans.

International Women's Voices Day

The Tigermen Den, New Orleans, LA

(20 min excerpt)

December 9, 2017

Women in Motion Winter Salon

Soundance Studio, New York, NY

(20 min excerpt) 

"The work is wild and chaotic in the best of ways… and so wacky and smart, rigorous and uninhibited.”

- Vicky Shick, Choreographer   

"When people call a work like this

'grotesque,' I think about how little it can take to disrupt the expectations of how we present ourselves as women on stage and how masterfully you did this with Jitterbug.

...The chairs were so fully and consistently engaged as objects. They stood in for a dozen different things: stability, instability, comfort, imprisonment, touchstone, obligation, children, marriage, being tied down, a shelter that is safe and also menacing. And a representation of your own bodies.  Genius.”

- Shannon Stewart, Choreographer   



Co-conceived and created by Donna Costello and Jennifer Sargent

Performed by Donna Costello and Jennifer Sargent

Sound composed by Brendan Connelly

Physical dramaturgy by Penelope McCourty

Costume consultation by Jennifer Paar

Light design by Jen Davis

SUPPORT: Supported by a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant, by organizations including Dancing Grounds, The Tigermen Den, and The Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and many generous individuals.

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