A work by Monica Bill Barnes warrants certain expectations. It will be humorous, it will be fun and, despite your cynical self, you will laugh.
But the first time she and her longtime dance partner, Anna Bass, showed their creative producing director what they had been working on in private — the seed of their newest piece — he was perplexed.
“Honestly, you did all these moves for like an hour,” Robert Saenz de Viteri told the two over coffee in a cafe near their Manhattan storage unit. (Ms. Barnes loves props.) He was trying to muster a kindly expression. “But the moves were so repetitive and rigorous,” he continued, “and there was an aggressive personality to it.”
No, this one wasn’t the least bit fun.
Ms. Barnes, whose company’s motto is “bringing dance where it doesn’t belong,” has no interest in boring people, but she does want to make them think. She recalled her response to Mr. Saenz de Viteri: “I said in a slightly defensive voice: ‘I’m not in the mood to make something fun. Come on Anna, let’s go!’”
They went — and kept at it. The resulting show, “One Night Only (Running as long as we can),” will be Monica Bill Barnes & Company’s Off Broadway debut when it opens in previews on Saturday, Sept. 9 at the WP Theater. For just over an hour, “One Night Only” will explore — through sports and, of course, highly refined choreography — the aging body, something Ms. Barnes, 44, and Ms. Bass, who will turn 40 during the run, are all too familiar with.