Bare Bait Dance company is hitting the road with three outdoor public performances — the first since November 2019.
Dubbed the “Roadshow,” the performances Friday-Sunday, Sept. 10-12 boast original pieces that are “light-hearted and playful” with music from the Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Phoebe Bridgers and Nick Drake while showing off the technical ability of the dancers, said artistic director Joy French.
“It’s our chance to come together and celebrate and be able to perform live,” she said.
These outdoor shows are roughly an hour each with eight pieces “that essentially won’t ever be seen again,” French said. They’ll serve as an introduction to the company this year, which has seven dancers plus a University of Montana intern and three high school apprentices.
Each show includes a different musical guest who will perform separately — singer-songwriter Lee Rizzo (formerly of Mudslide Charley), the multifaceted singer-guitarist Travis Yost, and jazz group Blue Moon. French said they picked a series of outdoor locations with plenty of room for people to find a good spot — bring a chair, blanket and picnic.
These are also a fundraiser for the 11th season from the company — the only contemporary modern dance troupe in the city, and one that produces original work by local and visiting choreographers. Instead of tickets, they’ll ask for a “pass the hat” donation to go toward their later, fully staged shows.
The group’s 2021-22 season begins in earnest in January with “Springboard ‘22,” a selection of original pieces by Bare Bait company members and guest choreographers. They’ll perform at the West Side Theater, a flexible full-sized performance venue that’s also home to MASC, the Moksha Aerial Studio Collective.
In March, they’re putting on the ninth annual Kinetoscope film festival, a curated lineup of movies that work at the intersection of choreography and film.
And in April, they’ll present “When the Dust Settles,” an original evening-length piece by French and the company that’s “a look back at both our last couple years as well as other moments in history where we’ve come together in solidarity.” That show is also booked at the West Side Theater.
During the pandemic, French said they received strong support from audiences, private donors and state and federal programs. The long pause on in-person performances provided time to convert to an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit from one with a fiscal sponsor.
This year, she said they’re banking on more support from showgoers.
During the 2020-21 season, the group had some limited-capacity private “Roadshow” performances and then switched to online offerings. For an original piece, “Window Dressing,” French made a dance film, serving as director-choreographer with Kelly Bouma (a dancer-choreographer-filmmaker) and Mike Steinberg (the Roxy Theater’s executive director and a filmmaker) as cinematographers, with script work by Kate Morris. It was designed and shot specifically for a private house and then screened online in May.
They also presented original works in video format for January’s “CXQ,” and the Kinetoscope dance film festival. Since earlier this spring, the troupe has been able to get vaccines and rehearse in person again.
The performances are free, with a pass-the-hat donation after shows. You’re welcome to bring a picnic, blanket or camp chair.
Friday, Sept. 10, 7 p.m.
“The Hen House,” 3301 Park St.
With special musical guest Lee Rizzo
Saturday, Sept. 11, 7 p.m.
1776 Stephens Ave.
With special musical guest Travis Yost
Sunday, Sept. 12, 6 p.m.
Ten Spoon Winery
4175 Rattlesnake Dr.
With special musical guest Blue Moon