Dancing on Air

The idea of dangling from a ten-foot pole that's hooked to the ceiling and alternately swiveling from side to side and moving in a circular motion might be considered more of a nightmare than an avant-garde artistic endeavor, but for aerial dancer Jo Kreiter, it's the perfect way to expand the definition of dance.

Kreiter will perform at the Aerial Dance Festival along with seven featured dancers. Hosted by Frequent Flyers Productions in Boulder, the one-week festival offers lectures, demonstrations, performances and classes about aerial dance. The dancers, who perform nationwide, will use various types of apparatus such as bungee cords, a low-flying trapeze, rock-climbing equipment and hoops to perform their airborne acts.

A San Francisco-based dancer, Kreiter first took dance lessons during her final year of college. After graduating with a degree in political science, she moved to San Francisco and was introduced to the concept of dancing off the ground. She quickly fell in love with the style, and in 1996 she founded Flyaway Productions, an all-female company.

"We make apparatus-based dances to explore the range and power of female physicality," Kreiter says. But the dancer didn't forget her political roots; instead, she infused her passion for social-justice issues into her routines. Recently her company performed a piece on the last hand-operated crane in the San Francisco Bay. The dance is representative of a new historical movement in the city to build awareness of the labor community's contributions. At the Boulder festival, Kreiter will perform a duet with another dancer from her company. Called "Face to Face," the piece focuses on the importance of face-to-face communication in an age where wireless communication has become so rampant. The dancers will use flying poles, which are hooked to the ceiling on a swivel.

Kreiter hopes the festival shows the limitless possibilities of dance. "I hope people get a sense that dance can happen anywhere, on anything," she says. "I also hope they get a sense of joy and creativity looking at dance in an objective new way."

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Vaishalee Mishra