Friday, October 19, 2012

Yeah. What Ira said.
Monica Bill Barnes & Company in Thank You and Good Night (photo by Steven Schreiber)

The utterly charming Monica Bill Barnes & Company will be at NYU's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts with This American Life host Ira Glass tomorrow and Sunday (but this is not an announcement--because you already know that, right? And, if not, you can find out more here.)

I'm bringing this up because Glass said something about his experience of seeing Barnes' troupe for the first time that I'd like to share. I'll explain why later. Here's his quote:
NPR's Ira Glass
I was inspired to make our recent cinema event after seeing MBB & CO. in June 2011. I'll be honest, I don't go to a lot of dance, but her show was the most charmingly alive dance performance I've ever seen. Literally, while it was going on, all I could think was, ‘I want to see this again. How do I see this again? How do I bring everyone I've ever met to this?’ So I created that cinema event in May 2012 where we performed an episode of our show onstage at Skirball and beamed it into movie theaters, with dances by MBB & CO. Afterwards, the most common question I was asked was 'Who were those dancers?' People kept coming up to me saying 'I don't like dance. I don't go to dance. I want to see them again.' Which, yes, is a weird thing to say about an entire art form, but the point is, they won a lot of fans that night and I think when people see a full MBB & CO. show, they'll be even more wowed.
As it turns out, I feel this way about a lot of the dance and movement-based performance I see--I want to "bring everyone I've ever met to this." I want a lot of what I see to not fade away so fast--like after a night or a few nights or, if the artists are lucky, a couple of weekends. I want it to be seen by more than the usual suspects. And I want it to be pondered and processed and taken to heart and argued about and remembered. I want it to influence things beyond dance, beyond the arts. I want it on the American breakfast table and at the water cooler and on the supermarket queue and in the neighborhood bar and in the board room and in the war room.

Good going to Barnes for getting Glass's attention and his joyful response. Her efforts are good for her, of course, and possibly good for us all. What do you think, maybe in 2013 and going forward more of us can step up our magic(k) creativity and raise the outside world's awareness about what's doing in these excellent, essential little villages we call the dance communit(ies)? Let's work on ways to bring everyone we meet to this.

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