My name is Erica Barnes and I am a director, performer and collaborative artist. I thrive under the duress of limitations; an artist whose best work is created through a strict adherence to rules, structure and repetition. I enjoy creating story through collage-a piece of inspiration, an overheard conversation, a reaction. A spark for the work, the initial fire of the idea, can come from most anywhere--art, text, poetry, lyrics, color, nature, breath, music, story, silence. The addition of the performers bodies-the creation of shapes and images as the body reacts to the source work give me another bit to add to the collage. I find performance to fit an environment or an environment to fit the performance. I create best in site-specific spaces. The audience plays a specific role in the work I create, as I believe theatre and dance is an experience.
I was trained in and inspired by dance, Laban Movement, Theatre of the Oppressed, and a variety of ensemble created exercises known as Music Movements. But, I obtained most all of my valuable training in a rehearsal room learning other people’s bodies, their rhythms, their ideas and in witnessing the responsive images they make. I believe in devised work and I create a community, trust and ensemble with performers. I encourage the sharing of ideas in the rehearsal room. I believe in dramaturgy, research and the history of the inspiration piece. I guide performers’ search for characterization through the body and breath and give them a creatively supportive environment in which they can create honest characters or images that simply act and react.
As a solo artist and director, I face challenges finding the funding and space to create and produce my art. Space is often the single most expensive budget item I face when planning performances. Limited funds mean limited runs and I am not always able to invite critics to view my work. I also lack the funds needed to properly document my work via video or photography and relay predominantly on the kindness of friends and strangers to help me. I hope to begin building my website in the next few months to stay relevant and keep a positive web presence while creating new work.
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