The video below is from the University of Iowa Department of Dance featuring the choreography of Eloy Barragán who worked with the team of people listed in the credits. Margalea Warner is listed as a source of inspiration.


Description from YouTube

[Written by Eloy Barragán. Posted to YouTube on 14 Nov 2022. Credits as listed on YouTube.]

I was first inspired to choreograph “Unfinished” when I read my dear friend Michael Judge’s interview with the world-renowned Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, author of Surviving Schizophrenia. Michael’s family story—his two older brothers, Steve and John, suffered terribly from schizophrenia, the latter taking his own life at 21–moved me greatly, as did his family’s perseverance and determination to advocate for the estimated 14.2 million others in the U.S. who suffer from serious mental illnesses (SMIs) such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression.

The Judge family introduced me to MargaLea Warner, a former Iowa Writers Workshop attendee and survivor of schizophrenia who’s spent the last three decades speaking and writing about her personal experience and her “27 Keys to Wellness.” As MargaLea has written, “There is no shame in being hospitalized when you’re in a mental health crisis, but thriving in your community year after year is something to celebrate.”

This piece is a tribute to survivors like MargaLea and Michael’s brother Steve, who found the right medicine, support team, and coping skills, and thrived in their community. But it’s also an homage to all those who did not survive their struggles with serious mental illness, like Michael’s brother John. Many suffering from SMIs wind up in jail or prison. Among adults diagnosed with schizophrenia, 1 in 20 dies by suicide, a rate that is 20 times higher than the general population.

I believe “The Unfinished Symphony,” Schubert’s masterpiece, is the perfect choice to accompany this piece since schizophrenia strikes most people in young adulthood, leaving their lives “unfinished” in so many tragic ways. According to the National Institutes of Health, young adults aged 18-25 years have the highest prevalence of SMI (9.7%) compared to adults aged 26-49 years (6.9%) and aged 50 and older (3.4%).

I’ve worked with so many young dancers and have personally seen many struggle bravely with mental illness. “Unfinished” is for all of them—those who are with us and those who aren’t—and every family ever touched by brain disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression.

CREATORS: Eloy Barragán, in collaboration with the cast
SCENERY AND COSTUME DESIGN: Margaret Wenk-Kuchlbauer
LIGHTING DESIGN: Laurel Shoemaker
MUSIC: “The Unfinished Symphony” No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759, Allegro moderato, Part I & Part II – Composed by Franz Schubert. Performed by the University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra, James Dixon, conductor, January 23, 1968. School of Music Recording Archives, Rita Benton Music Library, University of Iowa
DANCERS: Alyssa Alber, Amya Lopez, Cassidy Banwart, Cearra Crosser, Dionna VanGorkom, Leah Krantz, Margaret Steimel
INSPIRATION: MargaLea Warner and Michael Judge

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