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anna barker



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could be worse: premiere


Anna and Leah present their latest evening length duet, could be worse, at the Walltown Children's Theater in Durham, NC on Friday & Saturday, March 22nd & 23rd at 8pm.

could be worse "dresses tragedy in spectacle, asking its audience to contemplate the nuances of reality and their varying degrees of harshness. Themes of aging, consumption, motivation, labor, class, domestic life, isolation, and exhaustion are present throughout the work, which paints a portrait of parallel experiences that are decidedly individual."

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could be worse: preview


Anna and Leah present excerpts of their upcoming work, could be worse, at the ADF Scripps Studios in Durham on Saturday, January 27th at 7pm. This informal showing will be followed by a short discussion about their creative process. Tickets are free and registration is required!


Catch "unt/ether", an excerpt of feature film "Level Up", at the 2022 American Dance Festival's Movies by Movers on JULY 9, 2022! Watch the teaser here.


A new dance film from recently premiered its first ever dance film, Level Up. In this narrative feature, a dancer in her 30s grapples with her own personalized idea of success, failure, and the gray areas in between. Watch the official trailer here.


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Anna's live work was displayed and presented at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) , as part of the 2018-2019 NC Arts Council Fellowship exhibition. 


Planned Parenthood reached out to Emmy-winning director Cynthia Hill of Markay Media to create a short film exploring the first tenet of their UNSTOPPABLE Manifesto:

“Our bodies are our own. If they are not, we cannot be truly equal.” 

Choreography by Anna Barker




Anna Barker returned to her alma mater, Temple University, to present her recent work "Feature Presentation" for the 2018 Alumni Dance Concert. Feature Presentation is a series of dance theater vignettes that explore how we perform curated versions of ourselves in our everyday life. Continuing in her vignette aesthetic, Feature Presentation moves through sections of precise, technical and gestural dancing interspersed with humorous theatrical sections in which Barker and Wilks address the audience and each other. Shows at 7:30pm , October 12th & 13th, at Conwell Hall @ Temple University.

Kickstarter video for "Again, but this time with feeling "

Kickstarter video for "Again, but this time with feeling "

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Is anything more terrifying than failure? In her third evening-length work, Durham artist Anna Barker presents a series of dance-theater vignettes exploring how we experience failure—either by writhing in the discomfort of it or by avoiding it at all costs. A foil to her 2016 work "Feature Presentation", which examined success and the curated self-image, Again, but this time with feeling exposes the other side of the same coin—the darker, more difficult side. What happens when shooting for the stars doesn’t quite pan out? What happens when we are left with our own, personalized feeling of failure? How do we navigate not only our greatest blunders, but also our routine, everyday missteps?

"Failing is one of the most universal human experiences, To fail, to say to yourself that you’ve failed, necessitates a certain level of honesty and vulnerability. How we choose to deal with failure is a reflection of our ability to accept certain truths about ourselves. In the face of adversity and potential failure, we decide to either give up or keep going. I’m interested in what drives us to make these decisions. As a dance artist, you could consider me an expert in personal ‘failure,’ whether that’s not making it through auditions, not getting grants, facing injury, or being given a bad review. And yet, I’m still creating work and still facing the same failures. There’s something inherently funny about that."   - Anna Barker



Anna Barker is a choreographer and performer based in Durham, North Carolina. She attended Durham School of the Arts high school and spent many summers at the North Carolina School of the Arts and the American Dance Festival. After spending 10 years dancing in Philadelphia and New York City, Anna relocated back to her hometown and founded her dance theater company,, with collaborator Leah Wilks. The company premiered their debut, “it’s not me it’s you” in 2014 in Durham. After touring this work in the Northeast, and then across the state of North Carolina with the North Carolina Dance Festival, Anna premiered “Feature Presentation" at the Living Arts Collective in 2016. Two years later, Anna presented her larger group work about failure “Again, but this time with feeling”, in 2018. After receiving a fellowship from the NC Arts Council, Anna produced her first feature-length dance film “Level Up”, which premiered in Durham NC in September 2021 and will be presented at the American Dance Festival in July 2022. She is currently in process for an upcoming duet, "Could Be Worse", with collaborator Leah Wilks. 

Anna has presented work as part of the American Dance Festival, Duke Performances, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, APAP NYC, The North Carolina Dance Festival, Carrboro Film Festival, Tobacco Road Dance Productions, WAXworks at Triskelion Arts, among others. She was awarded the NC Arts Council Artist Fellowship for 2018-2019, and an Emerging Artist Grant from the Durham Arts Council in 2019. Anna teaches Pilates locally in private practice at The Movement Studio at Radical Healing and is on summer faculty at the American Dance Festival.

Anna Barker

REAL.LIVE.PEOPLE is the brainchild of Anna Barker and collaborator Leah Wilks. The dance-theater company, based in Durham NC, explores the human condition via idiosyncratic movement and gesture. Through the combination of movement, music, text, humor and theater, Barker draws from our shared experiences to create an exchange about our inherent social and interpersonal existence.

"My goal as an artist is to invite audiences to view everyday life through the lens of modern dance.

I am interested in bridging the gap between dance as a formal medium and the lived experience of

routine physicality." 

- Anna Barker



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