Monica Bill Barnes and Celia Rowlson-Hall Join At Jacob's Pillow Dance


Hailed as "one of the wittiest young choreographers around" (Deborah Jowitt, The Village Voice), Monica Bill Barnes brings her trademark blend of theatricality, intelligence, humor, and physicality to Jacob's Pillow Dance, July 28-August 1. Barnes and her dancers will perform excerpts from Another Parade, noted for its "genuine wit and humor" (Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times), set to a varied score including music by J.S. Bach, Burt Bacharach, and James Brown. The program also features mostly fanfare, a world premiere co-commissioned by Jacob's Pillow, created in part during a Creative Development Residency at the Pillow, and here we are, a 2009 solo choreographed and performed by Barnes herself.

"Monica Bill Barnes has the most delightful and intriguing ways of communicating with audiences. She invites us to a witty and unpredictable party. She can pull on our heart strings, make us laugh, think, and reflect. She's original," says Pillow Executive Director Ella Baff.

Co-commissioned by Jacob's Pillow and created in part during Monica Bill Barnes' Creative Development Residency at Jacob's Pillow, mostly fanfare is inspired by the music of Nina Simone and delves into the various ways in which who we are on the outside - what we wear and what we allow people to know - reflects who we actually are and what we feel inside both onstage and off. The score includes Simone's "For All We Know," "Samson & Delilah," and "Let It Be Me." In a concept born during the company's Creative Development Residency at the Pillow, Barnes and filmmaker/company member Celia Rowlson-Hall have collaborated to create eight short companion films for mostly fanfare, designed for a limited time internet showing, and intended to serve as "windows into the choreographer's imagination." The films may be viewed online at

Another Parade, a work for four dancers including Barnes, celebrates the experience of being onstage. Barnes's signature movement style, full of large, sweeping phrases as well as intimate, theatrical gestures and expressions, is at the forefront of this work, Set to Bach's "Cello Suite No. 4" in addition to popular music by artists such as James Brown and Burt Bacharach, this exploration of performers and performing utilizes humorous theatricality interwoven with Barnes' innovative choreography. Kris Eitland of San Diego Arts notes that while comedy and dance are frequently ill-combined, "Barnes is the mistress of such mischief and has the technical dance ability to make it all work. She breaks all the rules, but also tempers the clowning around with enough darkness and pity to make us care."

here we are, a solo for Barnes set to Nina Simone's "Wild is the Wind", was described by Quinn Batson for as "scintillating. It's as if she has a superfast processor in her head and the body to translate this speed to movement; the pace and amount of her scenarios and allusions in seven minutes is staggering."
While at Jacob's Pillow, Monica Bill Barnes will lead a Master Class on Sunday, August 1, 10-11:30am. Sunday Master Classes are open to intermediate/advanced dancers and pre-registration is required (call 413.243.9919 x5). Master Classes are $15 per class or $8 for dance instructors with proper identification. Observation is free and open to the public.

On Thursday, July 29, Barnes will screen and comment on film clips of classic comic dancers such as Lotte Goslar, Iva Kitchell, and Myra Kinch during a discussion on the use of humor in concert dance. The talk, part of Jacob's Pillow's free PillowTalks series, will take place at 5pm in Blake's Barn.

Monica Bill Barnes's work has been presented in Italy, Russia, Germany, and across the United States, and she has received multiple grants and residencies from such organizations as the Greenwall Foundation, Dance New Amsterdam, and the Puffin Foundation. Barnes holds an MFA from NYU Tisch and a BA in philosophy and theater from the University of California at San Diego, and was invited to the Pillow in 2009 for a Creative Development Residency.

The Creative Development Residency Program is part of Jacob's Pillow's core mission to support artists and their development. The program serves as a signature of the Pillow's artistic point of view and underscores its commitment to expand horizons, both of choreographers and audiences. During Creative Development Residencies, artists are invited to spend one to three weeks at the Pillow creating or rehearsing new work, with free housing for the company, unlimited use of studio space, and access to the Archives and other Pillow resources. In the quiet off-season atmosphere of Jacob's Pillow, the residencies are rare opportunities for artists to focus on the creative process without distraction. Each Creative Development Residency concludes with an invitation-only work-in-progress showing during which artists receive valuable creative feedback from audience members.

Following his company's Creative Development Residency, choreographer Stephen Petronio observed "dancing at the Pillow was like being marooned in heaven." Work created at the Pillow includes Bill T. Jones's Last Supper at Uncle Tom's Cabin/The Promised Land; Mark Morris' collaboration with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Falling Down Stairs; Joanna Haigood's site-specific Invisible Wings; The Other Here, by Annie B-Parson and Paul Lazar, Artistic Directors of Big Dance Theater; and Kate Weare's 2008 Bridge of Sighs. This year, Festival artists Camille A. Brown, Barnes, and Kyle Abraham are all premiering new works created during Creative Development Residencies.

Performance and Ticket Information
Wednesday, July 28 - Saturday, July 31, 8:15pm
Saturday, July 31 & Sunday, August 1, 2:15pm

Free Pre-Show Talks with Jacob's Pillow Scholars-in-Residence are offered on the porch of the Doris Duke Theatre 30 minutes before every performance. A Post-Show Talk will take place on Friday, July 30.
Tickets $31-36.

Tickets on sale now online at, via phone at 413.243.0745, or in person at Jacob's Pillow.

Jacob's Pillow is located at 358 George Carter Road in Becket, MA, 01223 (10 minutes east on Route 20 from Mass Pike Exit 2). The Jacob's Pillow campus and theaters are handicapped-accessible.

Free Events at the Pillow July 28 - August 1
Free "Inside/Out" Performance - skybetter and associates
NEW TIME Wednesday, July 28, 6:15pm
Sidney Skybetter's choreography combines an emotional background with rich movement, encouraging audiences to contemplate their own life events. Near Abroad, set to music by Arvo Pärt, surveys the feeling of loss while Potemkin Piece examines the experience of watching and being watched, set to Anton Dvo?ák's string quartet "The American."

Free "PillowTalk" Discussion and Film Screening - What's So Funny About Dance?
NEW DAY Thursday, July 29, 5pm
Blake's Barn
Lauded by Deborah Jowitt of The Village Voice as "one of the wittiest young choreographers around," Monica Bill Barnes joins a pantheon of Pillow performers who have used humor on the concert stage. Film clips of Lotte Goslar, Iva Kitchell, Myra Kinch, and other dancers will be screened and commented upon by Barnes.

Free "Inside/Out" Performance - The DASH Ensemble
NEW TIME Thursday, July 29, 6:15pm
This ensemble from New York City presents Sundowning, the title of which is the term given to a condition seen in Alzheimer's patients. The work progresses in a series of movement vignettes, merging contemporary dance with emotion to tackle a challenging topic.

Free "Inside/Out" Performance - John-Mark Owen
NEW TIME Friday, July 30, 6:15pm
BalletNY dancer and NYU graduate John-Mark Owen brings together a group of exquisitely trained classical ballet dancers to perform Triptych, an ethereal and sensual work examining the beginning, middle, and end of relationships.

Free "PillowTalk" Discussion - Backing into Forward with Jules Feiffer
Saturday, July 31, 4pm
Blake's Barn
Backing Into Forward, a new memoir by the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, author, and artist coincides with an encore showing of some recent Feiffer artwork in Blake's Barn. The master artist returns to sign his critically-acclaimed new book and talk about his latest adventures.

Free "Inside/Out" Showing - The School at Jacob's Pillow - Contemporary
NEW TIME Saturday, July 31, 6:15pm
The three-week Contemporary Program directed by master teacher/choreographer Milton Myers covers a range of diverse contemporary choreographers. This third and final week concludes with dancers directed in the acclaimed In your rooms, choreographed by London-based Hofesh Shechter and presented during the 2008 Festival.

Activities at Jacob's Pillow

The Archives at Jacob's Pillow allows impromptu visitors to view videos, browse through books, access the Pillow's computer catalog, or peruse permanent collections of Pillow programs and photographs. Pillow Interactive, a popular touch-screen kiosk, provides instant interlinked access to rare film clips ranging from the present day back to the 1930s.

Patrons are always welcome to explore the historic grounds to discover all the reasons why the Pillow was named a National Historic Landmark, with Guided Tours leaving from the Welcome Center every Friday and Saturday at 5:30pm. Self-guided tour maps are always available as well.

Visitors can also relax in the historic Tea Garden, where Ted Shawn's Men Dancers welcomed the first Pillow audiences in the 1930s, as they peek into the Bakalar Studio to watch rehearsals; or stroll through several ecological zones on the Wetlands Trail, created as part of the Pillow's responsible stewardship of its 163 acres of rural environment.

Dance Opportunities

Morning Jumpstart Classes offered in Pilates, Ballet, Modern, and Arab-American Fusion, Mondays through Thursdays at 8am. All experience levels, 16 and older, $8 per class, Ruth St. Denis Studio. Call the Education Hotline at 413.243.9919 x5.

Weekly Master Classes are led by Festival artists on Sundays from 10:30am to noon for intermediate and advanced dancers, $15 per class. Pre-registration is required. Call the Education Hotline at 413.243.9919 x5.

The School at Jacob's Pillow is open to public observation Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9am-5pm, featuring world renowned faculty at no charge. Interested groups of four or more should confirm space availability by calling 413.243.9919 x5.

The Pillow Café offers fine dining with full bar on The Great Lawn. Wednesdays through Saturdays, 5-7pm. Reservations are required, call 413.243.2455.

The Pillow Pub offers casual family fare, takeout for picnics, and full bar service. Wednesdays through Fridays 5pm-midnight, Saturdays noon-midnight, and Sundays noon-5pm.

The Coffee Bar and Ice Cream Bar are open pre-performance and during intermissions.

Sample menus for each dining venue are available at Pillow Patrons are also invited to bring picnics and relax at one of many choice picnic spots on the Pillow grounds.