Masks, mime and movement

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PARIS – His work combines unique handcrafted masks, original stories of courage and wonder, outlandish stilt dancing and a physical repertoire that ranges from the madcap to the sublime. The result is a “moving sculpture.”

Her skill in ballet, contemporary dance, mime and improvisation make her performances ones of impressive physical and emotional power.

Both performers – mask artist Michael Cooper and mime-dancer Karen Montanaro – will take the stage at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 21, at the Celebration Barn Theater.

Montanaro performs her one-woman show, “Tanzspiel,” in theaters and schools all over the world. She received her early dance training at the Cantarella School of Dance with Madeline Cantarella Culpo and with Andrea Stark, a former director of the Ram Island Dance Company. She also studied on scholarship with the Joffrey School of Ballet and has danced professionally with the Ohio Ballet and the Darmstadt Opera Ballet in Germany.

For 15 years, she collaborated and performed extensively with world-renowned mime and performing artist Tony Montanaro. She was the “word-smith” for Montanaro’s book, “Mime Spoken Here,” published in 1995.

Cooper has been described as a poet of the stage. He is an eye-popping visual artist and virtuoso mime whose performances of humor and poignancy, nimble speech and eloquent gesture have dazzled audiences of all ages for almost 30 years.

He graduated from Goddard College with a degree in peace studies, a unique major that continues to fuel his dedication to creating wholesome, uplifting entertainment that appeals to his audience’s sense of humanity. He then went on to complete six years of theater training with the two greatest mime teachers of the 20th century, Etienne Decroux of Paris, France, and Tony Montanaro of Paris, Maine.

Since then, he has crisscrossed the world, presenting his art in such varied places as the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Hong Kong International Children’s Festival, Great Woods, The Comedy Store in Los Angeles, the Dublin Theater Festival, the Eugene O’Neill Theater, Bass Performance Hall, and the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.

Tickets to the show are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for students. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling the box office at 743-8452. Celebration Barn Theater is on Stock Farm Road, just off Route 117. For more information, log on to www.CelebrationBarn.com.

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