Radio host and This American Life creator Ira Glass is bringing his dance-meets-storytelling show to the Arts Centre for two nights only
This show, devised by This American Life's Ira Glass and choreographer and dancer Monica Bill Barnes (and performed by the two with dancer Anna Bass), is structured like an episode of the NPR show, but it pairs Glass's customary narration and storytelling with interpretive dance.
And (perhaps miraculously) audiences love it: it's been touring since 2013. It's also, Glass told Time Out New York, one of the favourite things he's ever done.
"There’s something in the sensibility that feels very close to the sensibility of the radio show," he explains. "[And] actually being in a show where there are lighting cues and costume changes is such a more expressive experience. Even the parts that I’m doing are way more personally revealing than what I’m doing on the radio. It’s a more emotional experience to perform."
Glass first met Monica Bill Barnes in 2011 through a small event in Brooklyn organised by his wife, and saw a performance by her company soon after.
"I feel what’s original about what they’re doing is that they’re out for fun," he says. "They see themselves as entertainers. Their faces are way more expressive than those you see in a lot of dance performances. It’s more like watching comic actresses. There’s a documentary quality to it that I think a lot of dance has truthfully, but combined with those other things, like the moments, in certain pieces, of awkwardness between people. There are moments of real joy, but joy expressed in a less traditional dance way, and there was something about the storytelling that they were doing and the out-for-fun quality. It just got to me."
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