Monica Bill Barnes & Co. Previews New Dance at PS21

scene from ‘One Night Only’ by Monica Bill Barnes (photo Christopher Duggan)

(CHATHAM, N.Y.) – Monica Bill Barnes & Company performs a two-night preview performance of “One Night Only (running as long as we can)” at PS21 on Friday and Saturday, August 18 and 19, at 8pm. The evening-length work, part of PS21’s Chatham Dance Festival and which draws on sports competitions for inspiration, features Barnes and her longtime dance partner Anna Bass.

The piece gets its official premiere at WP Theater in New York City in September.

“‘One Night Only’ is an entirely new show for us,” Barnes says. “It’s a play on the idea: one night only over and over again and again. In this new show we want to know: Is there a way to make the audience feel invested in the same way they do with a sporting event? In sports, the crowd cheers and cares about the outcome. We want to borrow the style and pleasure without being over-representative.”

Monica Bill Barnes was named one of the wittiest young choreographers by the Village Voice. “When I can hear the laughter, I know that the audience is paying attention, they’re following and they’re invested,” Barnes said.

“Ultimately, our hope and intention is to make the dance performance feel relatable. As the audience watches, they should feel like they’re going through the relationship with us,” Barnes said. “We want it to feel familiar and be something they can identify with. That’s why I choreograph in stumbles and awkward moments – because that’s the way we move through life. Every day everyone struggles in the work they do.”

Monica Bill Barnes

Monica Bill Barnes & Company uses music as an element to build familiarity. “I always work with music that is familiar. It helps an audience find a way in,” Barnes explained. For this show Barnes uses an eclectic mix of classic country, opera, classical, and go-go from the 1980s.

Monica Bill Barnes & Co is made up of five people: two designers, two dancers, and a director. “It is important for me to express how collaborative the work is made. I am the choreographer, but what really makes our work unique and relatable is the collaboration that all five of us go through,” Barnes said. “The choreography is just the beginning. In fact, the choreography takes a back seat to the relationship. Each element contributes to the context that is framing the choreography.”

Monica Bill Barnes is a choreographer, performer, and the artistic director of Monica Bill Barnes & Company. Barnes founded MBB&CO in 1997 with the mission to celebrate individuality, humor, and the innate theatricality of everyday life. Her work has been performed in venues ranging from Upright Citizen’s Brigade to the BAM Opera House, and has been presented in more than 80 cities throughout the US. Current projects include a collaborative show with radio host Ira Glass that combines radio stories and dance, Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host; a collaboration with author/visual artist Maira Kalman creating a guided Museum Workout; Happy Hour, the world’s only office party turned dance show; and “One Night Only,” the company’s newest show that will premiere in NYC in fall 2017.

Monica Bill Barnes & Co will perform “One Night Only” Friday and Saturday, August 18 and 19 at 8:00 pm. Tickets are $35 general admission, $30 for PS21 members, and $17 for students (school ID required for college students). To order tickets, visit PS21 or call 1-800-838-3006. For more information, visit PS21 or call 518.392.6121.

PS21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century is a not-for-profit organization in Chatham, NY, dedicated to the performing arts and to serving a diverse community with concerts, programs and residencies by professional artists and ensembles, youth and children’s programming and cultural education opportunities for all ages.

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