Niagara Gazette — Jo Kreiter likes to hang dancers from high places. She has dangled them on giant construction machinery and on San Francisco high-rises where they defy gravity with their turns and leaps.
Her most recent dance project took place in one of Frisco’s most urban and tattered streets, but it had a theme that connected those who viewed her multi-media installation to a city nearly 2,700 miles away — Niagara Falls, N.Y.
The installation was called “Niagara Falling,” and included a documentary which was shown on the side of the building as the dancers performed. The event was created by Kreiter and a Niagara Falls native, David Hodge, and began when Hodge returned to his hometown several years ago to visit some friends.
He was so disarmed by what he saw in the city, so surprised by the decline, that he began doing interviews with friends who he had grown up with and others who remained in the city. “Things I remembered were gone and that was pretty sad,” he said. So he conducted about 60 interviews and talked with people about the city’s decline, and about their hopes and memories.
“Everybody, hands down, talked bout what a great community it was,” he said. “They were all saddened, as I am, that it turned the way it did.”
Hodge, a professional filmmaker lives in SanFrancisco and Stockholm with his wife and professional partner, HiJin Hodge. When he returned to the west coast, and was stewing on the images and faces from his home town, he was approached by Kreiter, who had seen a film he and his wife had dones for another dance company. She was interested in collaborating with the Hodges.
The team came up with the idea for “Niagara Falling,” and Hodge added new images and interviews of people living in the “Tenderloin,” the most challenging section of SanFrancisco, where the project would eventually be performed for three days in September.