Monica Bill Barnes

2014-2015 Artist in Residence


Monica Bill Barnes is a choreographer, performer and the Artistic Director of Monica Bill Barnes & Company Productions, a NYC-based contemporary dance company. Barnes founded MBB&CO in 1997 with the mission to celebrate individuality, humor and the innate theatricality of everyday life. The company creates full-length shows that tour the country’s biggest stages and tiniest rooms, bringing dance where it doesn’t belong. 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 60 cities throughout the US. Current projects include a collaboration with radio host Ira Glass to create, choreograph and direct a show 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, and Happy Hour, the world’s first-ever office party turned dance show event.


MBB&CO will be developing a new work, Happy Hour, while in residence at Tisch in 2015 and will use their residency to create a series of related events across NYU (in theatrical and non-theatrical spaces) featuring a shifting set of worlds and characters. Barnes is joined by a core of collaborators: Associate Artistic Director and performing partner Anna Bass; Lighting Designer Jane Cox; and Set and Costume Designer Kelly Hanson, and Creative Producing Director and host of Happy Hour Robert Saenz de Viteri in the creation of this new show. The entry point into these worlds is movement but the show overall will ask audiences to consider these characters as a way of seeing the real people in all of our lives – our neighbors, our families, the idols we put on pedestals, the butts of our jokes, and, most importantly, ourselves. By framing material from Happy Hour in a variety of physical environments, MBB&CO will focus each event on a different question or idea while also connecting with a broad cross-section of NYU. MBB&CO will invite people into these spaces while they are working for conversation and feedback – and faculty interested in following the process are encouraged to reach out for class visits!

Happy Hour

Happy Hour is the newest dance work from MBB&CO. Framed by the casual aesthetics of cocktail parties and the inherent failure of karaoke nights, Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass are two female performers playing the most familiar male characters. Happy Hour invites audiences to have a drink, laugh at our collective failures, and celebrate our own shortcomings.