Our Vision


contemporary dance in Montana for Montanans

Bare Bait Dance was born from a place of curiosity and absence. I wanted to continue a creative discussion here in Missoula and realized the surprising lack of opportunities for dancers in the city and state. That does not mean there is/was nothing. (Special shout out to Amy Ragsdale and her devotion to the dance community with both MoTrans and Headwaters.) All I mean to say is that I wanted there to be more. More opportunities for dancers to perform, for choreographers to create, for audiences to see.

Many years later, BBD has grown to include guest residencies, teaching residencies, regional tours, video productions, a film festival, and a multitude of collaborative projects. Every year I feel re-inspired to do more / do better for this region.

Thus, BBD emerged as first a home for me to play with the generous and talented dancers of western Montana and has now grown into a home for contemporary dance in the region. I am proud of what BBD has accomplished and so honored that audiences continue to be curious with me about what contemporary dance and performance is and can be.


Joy French
Founder & Artistic Director

Bare Bait Dance Co. Missoula-0333.jpg

Image from Settle (2014), BBD's first Guest Collaborative Residency with Colorado-based choreographer, Rachel Oliver.
photo credit: Jen Delong


Our Mission

Founded in the fall of 2011, Bare Bait Dance offers fresh, original, professional dance-works in Montana for Montanans.

Under the continuing direction of Joy French, Bare Bait Dance company aims to:

  • increase the availability of contemporary dance to both the Missoula community as well as rural Montanan communities which are largely under served in the performing arts
  • build an accessibility to dance by producing concerts that speak directly to contemporary western audiences and by fostering more possibilities for dance education both in the public schools and our communities
  • collaborate directly with local artists (filmmakers, musicians, visual artists, directors, actors) to create interdisciplinary dance productions
  • strengthen the Montanan dance community by providing paid performance jobs to highly skilled professional dancers, nurturing their creative work as choreographers, and facilitating opportunities for them to expand as teachers
  • present performers and choreographers from around the region and nation in order to cultivate a richer appreciation for contemporary dance and dance field as a whole