Missouri State University
Ruth Barnes

Ruth Barnes

  • Coordinator of dance program
  • BA, Binghamton University
  • MFA, University of California, Riverside

Her choreography tells many stories

As an artist-in-residence in Edinburgh, Scotland during summer 2013, Ruth Barnes collaborated with five other choreographers to design “Here, There and Everywhere.” 

As an artist-in-residence in Edinburgh, Scotland during summer 2013, Ruth Barnes, coordinator of the dance program at Missouri State University, collaborated with five other choreographers to design an hour-long dance solo that centered on the theme of displacement. They named it, “Here, There and Everywhere.”

While she performed that piece in Scotland and later in Brooklyn, it is only one of approximately 70 choreographed pieces she’s completed in her career – a career that has spanned the globe. She was raised in New York, taught dance in Europe for 15 years, became a dance faculty member on each coast of the United States and then secured a position at Missouri State because she believes in public education.

Barnes brought her unique style of dance to Missouri State back in 2005 – a style she calls non-linear narrative contemporary. There may be a story, but as she describes it, it may be out of sequence, and it’s open to interpretation.

“I work intuitively. I’m getting in touch with my own psyche, my own subconscious,” she said. “There’s something in there that people somehow do in fact relate to.”

This non-linear style was one she gravitated toward early, studying under the highly-acclaimed modern choreographer Merce Cunningham.

“The first time I saw him perform, I had no idea what was going on,” she said. “It was total sensory overload, but I loved the energy.”