“Many Happy Returns” Trailer

“The Running Show” Trailer

“Happy Hour” Trailer

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 “Full-throttle, humor-infused dance-theater.” (The Running Show)

Steve Sucato, Dance Magazine

full article (PDF)

“Like all good happy hours, this one has plentiful munchies and libations. And like the best ones, it offers abundant laughter

– The New York Times

full article (PDF)

“Part dance performance, part vaudeville act, ‘Happy Hour’ was a ripsnorting laughfest because of a beautifully balanced gender tension.”

– Sarah L. Kaufman, Washington Post

full article (PDF)


A dance show turned into an after-work office party. Come for the free drink, stay for the hope of a life-changing experience. “Think of Buster Keaton – unapologetically human and refreshingly relatable.” – NY Times

Dressed in a pair of everyday men’s suits, two women crash an after-work office party playing instantly familiar guys. It’s a subversive move, leading audiences to question expectations of women on stage with a free drink in their hands and microwave popcorn flying through the air.

Happy Hour is one hour in length, and is suited for audiences 50-400 in size. Since its premiere in 2015, Happy Hour has been performed all over the world in various settings from a barn in upstate New York to a villa in Italy.

Created by Monica Bill Barnes, Anna Bass & Robbie Saenz de Viteri
Performed by Monica Bill Barnes, Elisa Clark & Robbie Saenz de Viteri
Choreographed by Monica Bill Barnes
Lighting Design by Jane Cox
Set and Costume Design by Kelly Hanson
Production Associate: Elizabeth Furman

Transformation of studio to Happy Hour time-lapse video:

Dance Magazine preview:

What audiences are saying:

A 7-year-old falls in love with dance at her first recital. 40 years later, she works every day to stay in the game. At 70 she keeps moving.

The Running Show documents the life of a dancer through movement, interviews, and stories.  The show features a large cast of local performers in every city.  Dancers from each community, ranging in age from 12 years old to 84, join Monica Bill Barnes on stage, learning their parts over the course of one week.  Robbie Saenz de Viteri interviews each cast, incorporating their voices and stories into the show giving the audience an unprecedented look into the life of a dancer as a new kind of sports hero, that keeps moving against all odds.

Presented by ADF premiered September 30 – October 4, 2020.

With choreography and interviews from the company’s cancelled premiere of The Running Show at the American Dance Festival, Monica Bill Barnes & Robbie Saenz de Viteri collaborated with sixteen dancers from New York City’s Hunter College to create this online collection. “Keep Moving” offers insight into the stories of these dancers and how they are preserving their identity as artists and movers amidst a global pandemic with no studios or theaters to move in.  90 minutes in total of material, “Keep Moving” is delivered in 10 chapters; some are videos, some are audio only. Some chapters have specific instructions, such as taking a walk while you listen. Some are long, some are short. All of them try to answer the question of how a dancer, a woman who works so hard to keep moving, finds a way forward while live performance is on pause.

Keep Moving is delivered in chapters; some are videos, some are audio only.  Some chapters have specific instructions, like take a walk while you listen.  Some are long, some are short.  All of them try to answer the question of how a dancer, a woman who works so hard to keep moving, finds a way forward while live performance is on pause.

Co-Commissioned & presented by: ADF with support from Jody and John Arnhold/Arnhold Foundation.

From Monica Bill Barnes & Robbie Saenz de Viteri:

Many Happy Returns is a dance version of a memory play. It combines movement and storytelling as two sides of a shared character. The show is framed like an event, like a reunion of some kind, maybe for us, maybe for the audience. The pandemic loneliness hangs in the air, but it’s not about the pandemic in an ALL-CAPS way. It’s about time passing and the inherent disappointment in returning to things. It’s about aging, particularly about what it means to be in the “middle” years – and even more particularly what that experience is from a female perspective.

That all sounds potentially loaded and hard, but we promise, we are unabashedly artists of joy. Yes, joy! There’s a beach ball, there’s a sing-a-long, people balance things on their heads, and someone in the audience gives a toast. It’s a celebration that asks us all to laugh at the question of whether we keep changing, while worrying that we might always remain the same.

Many Happy Returns tours with 4 dancers, 1 narrator, and 2 staff/crew, for a total of 7 on the road.

Many Happy Returns trailer
BAC Open Spring 2023 Dance + Theater Residency, March 6-18, 2023


Monica Bill Barnes & Company is a contemporary American dance company that brings dance where it does not belong.  We create and produce each work entirely from its own rulebook—dancing to radio interviews on the biggest stages in the world, hosting a weekly show in a crowded office party, or leading a choreographed exercise routine in an art museum.  Within each of these new contexts and borrowed environments, we constantly find humor in our awkward, everyday triumphs and failures.

Monica Bill Barnes is a choreographer, performer, and the Artistic Director of Monica Bill Barnes & Company. Barnes founded MBB&CO in 1997 with a collection of solos that could be performed anywhere. The company has performed in venues ranging from Upright Citizen’s Brigade to The Sydney Opera House, and has been presented in more than 100 cities throughout the US and internationally.  Barnes has worked in film, theater, and set over 30 different works on college students all over the country. Recent company projects include The Museum Workout, a guided exercise tour of art museums made in collaboration with the author/visual artist Maira Kalman; Happy Hour, an immersive office party dance show; Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host, a show that combines radio and dance in collaboration with Ira Glass; and The Running Show, a new touring show inspired by the company’s award winning off-Broadway production that turns dance into a live sporting event.

Robert Saenz de Viteri began working in theater as an audio script assistant to Anna Deveare Smith.  He has created performances and toured productions throughout the world with the Obie Award winning Nature Theater of Oklahoma.  He has created, produced, and performed in Happy Hour, The Museum Workout, and One Night Only with Monica Bill Barnes & Company. Some of his other favorite projects include producing This American Life Episode 528, “The Radio Drama Episode” live on stage at BAM, directing Rachel Bonds’s Michael & Edie, and creating and performing The Spiritual Life of Modern America, a collaboration in Norway based on the experiences of foreigners traveling in America today. He was honored to receive a 2018 Miss Lilly Award for his contributions to women in theater.

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