guest artist series:
monica bill barnes & company
“Though it may sound corny, Barnes — pitch-perfect not only in humor, but in humanness, too, it turns out — seems to invite us all to shed our insecurities and relax, maybe even glory, in our imperfect selves.”
– The Boston Globe
Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass trade their signature sequins and feather headdresses for a pair of everyday men’s suits in the world’s first-ever cocktail party dance show. With nothing up their sleeves and just a few things in their pockets, they dance their way through the guys in ties that we all recognize — from the Rat Pack to Las Vegas magicians and silent comic tramps to classic business men.
Happy Hour mixes dance, theater and one card trick all set to a sound score of Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Journey and Nat King Cole. Come after work, first drink’s on us. No really, you get a drink but leave the dancing to us.
about the artists
MONICA BILL BARNES is a choreographer, performer and the Artistic Director of Monica Bill Barnes & Company Productions, a New York City based contemporary dance company. Barnes founded MBB&CO in 1997 with the mission to celebrate individuality, humor and the innate theatricality of everyday life. She is joined by a core of long-time collaborators: Associate Artistic Director and performing partner, Anna Bass; Lighting Designer, Jane Cox; and Set and Costume Designer, Kelly Hanson. The company creates full-length shows that tour the country’s biggest stages and tiniest rooms, bringing dance where it doesn’t belong: making site-specific dances in public places, mounting collaborations with radio hosts and bringing down the house at comedy shows. MBB&CO has performed in more than sixty cities throughout the United States, been commissioned and presented by The American Dance Festival, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and performed all over New York City in venues ranging from Upright Citizen’s Brigade to The BAM Opera House. Barnes has been an invited guest artist at many universities and has choreographed for various theater productions. She began working with radio host Ira Glass in 2012 when she created a solo for David Rakoff for This American Life Live! In 2013 Barnes collaborated with Glass to create, choreograph and direct a new show that combines radio stories and dances: Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host. This show premiered in New York at The Town Hall in September 2014 and will tour to 30 US cities throughout 2015. Upcoming projects include a collaboration with visual artist Maira Kalman creating a guided museum workout, and Happy Hour, the world’s first-ever cocktail party dance show featuring Barnes and Bass.
ANNA BASS began working with MBB&CO in 2003 and now serves as Associate Artistic Director. She has performed Barnes’ work all over the country, on stages ranging from public fountains and city parks to New York City Center and Carnegie Hall. Anna often assists Monica with commissions, workshops and theater projects. She served as the Assistant Choreographer for productions at The Atlantic Theater, The Public Theater and Yale Repertory Theater. Anna has also performed in radio host Ira Glass’s two most recent This American Life Live! events – catching boxes while dancing as a part of TAL’s cinema event, and appearing as a roller-skating mouse alongside Mike Birbiglia in The Radio Drama Episode at the BAM opera house. She is currently touring the country with Monica and Ira in their show Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host. Anna grew up in a small town in Virginia where she studied almost every dance style, from classical ballet to country line dancing. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Learn more at monicabillbarnes.com
“Think of Buster Keaton in Vegas. It’s also unapologetically human and refreshingly relatable.”
– The New York Times
“Life is like that. You get spinach stuck in your teeth, toilet paper trails from your shoe, the hem of your dress finds its way into your underwear (in the back, where you can’t tell until someone feels sorry enough for you to point it out). In these daily indignations, Barnes finds creative material. She’s the Tina Fey of dance.”
– The Washington Post
WATCH Trailer – Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host
READ Feature – “Ten Minutes With Monica Bill Barnes.” Candice Thompson. Dance Magazine. March 2015.
READ Preview – “Happy Hour, Latin American Art Festival & more.” San Diego City Beat. March 16, 2015
Happy Hour is made possible through Velocity’s Guest Artist Series.
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