Jo Kreiter's Newest Aerial Dance Opens In San Francisco's Tenderloin This June
In partnership with the Tenderloin Museum, Flyaway Productions is proud to announce the world premiere of TENDER (n.): A PERSON WHO TAKES CHARGE, a site-specific aerial dance celebrating 100 years of "outcast activism" in the Tenderloin. Tender runs June 7 - 16 at the Cadillac Hotel, located at 380 Eddy Street, with performances at 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. A matinee performance at 12:30 p.m. will take place on Friday, June 8 and 15. Two additional performances at 9:30 p.m. will take place on Saturday, June 9 and 16. All performances are free, as is admission to the Museum, located on the ground floor of the Cadillac Hotel, during each performance.
"Tender celebrates the outcasts who, defying convention, have served as activists in pursuit of a desirable place to live and thrive," said Flyaway Artistic Director Jo Kreiter. "In the words of Randy Shaw, founder of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic:
"'Those fighting to prevent powerful interests from transforming the Tenderloin have included prostitutes, madams, gamblers, SRO [single room occupancy] tenants, seniors, transgender women, gay rights activists, welfare recipients, disabled persons and Southeast Asian refugees. It's hard to believe that these constituencies could overcome daily newspapers, real estate investors, public officials and San Francisco's social and economic elite to preserve the affordability of an area adjacent to high-priced Union Square-but they did.'"
In Tender, Kreiter distills a century of San Francisco's history into four parts, each representing a new wave of activism in the Tenderloin. Those parts include "Nine Ladies Dancing," spotlighting the young, single, working women who moved into the neighborhood in the early 1900s when the city was still overwhelmingly populated by men, and who fought against the city's morality campaign to criminalize their freedom to move in public.
"The Queen's Wave" chronicles the Tenderloin's transgender activism in the 1960s, including the Compton's Cafeteria Riot, a revolt pre-dating the Stonewall Riots. The Tenderloin served as a landing pad for refugees from U.S. wars in Southeast Asia, and "This Boat" honors the activism of the Vietnamese leaders who fought for immigrant rights in housing, healthcare, education and public safety beginning in the 1970s.
Finally, "Kathy's Dance" honors Kathy Looper, who together with her late husband Leroy Looper, purchased the Cadillac Hotel in 1976. "Kathy's Dance" features oral histories of several residents of the SRO, the first nonprofit of its kind dedicated to low-income housing for people in recovery.
Tender features a cast of seven performers: Bianca Cabrera, Laura Elaine Ellis, Sonsherée Giles, MaryStarr Hope, Yayoi Kambara, Megan Lowe and, in her Flyaway debut, drag artist and singer Honey Mahogany.
Kreiter serves as choreographer and director, and she commissioned an original score from Emmy Award-winning composer Vân-Ánh Võ, who also goes by the stage name Vanessa Vo. Võ, who lives and works in the Bay Area, is known for her work on Vietnamese traditional instruments especially the zither.
Additional members of the creative team include longtime Flyaway collaborator, Sean Riley, who serves as set and rigging designer; lighting designer David Robertson; and costume designer Jamielyn Dugan.
Tender is Kreiter's sixth major work in the Tenderloin within the past decade. Last year she mounted The Right to Be Believed, a work about women's historic lack of credibility in cases of gender-based harassment or sexual violence. In 2016 she completed a trilogy of works exploring the place of urban poverty at the center of enormous wealth production.
"The Tenderloin is ground zero for the deepest of American contradictions seen in my lifetime: the widening wealth gap," said Kreiter. "This contradiction draws me in, as does the sense of community that persists in the Tenderloin."
Inspired by Randy Shaw's call to bring "positive foot traffic" into the Tenderloin, Kreiter has partnered with a number of community nonprofits in a summer-long effort that expands the work of Tender. In addition to the Tenderloin Museum, those partners include Code Tenderloin, a workforce development program; the Asian Art Museum; Au Co Vietnamese Cultural Center; and CounterPulse.
CounterPulse will host Flyaway Productions' GIRLFLY program, July 9 - August 2, 2018, a dance and activism apprenticeship for low-income teenage girls. The program will continue Tender's focus on outcast activism in the Tenderloin, and participants will conduct their own oral history project emphasizing current youth activists.
Other events include a lecture-demonstration by Võ and Kreiter hosted by the Asian Art Museum on May 6 at 1 p.m., a "Curbside Conversation" with the artists at the Tenderloin Museum on May 24 and 31 at 5 p.m., and a History Walking Tour starting at the Asian Art Museum on June 8 at 7:15 p.m. For more information about these events, visit flyawayproductions.com.
The world premiere of TENDER (n.): a person who takes charge is made possible by support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council Creative California Communities Program, San Francisco Grants for the Arts, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation and Flyaway's generous individual donors.
ABOUT JO KREITER
Jo Kreiter is a San Francisco-based choreographer with a background in political science. Through dance she engages physical innovation and the political conflicts we live within. Her company, Flyaway Productions, explores the range and power of female physicality. Kreiter creates a sense of spectacle to make a lasting impression with an audience, striving for the right balance of awe, provocation and daring. Her tools include community collaboration, a masterful use of place, a feminist lens and a body-based push against the constraints of gravity. Recent awards include a Rauschenberg Artist as Activist Fellowship, the Rainin Foundation Open Spaces Award and a National Dance Project Creation Grant. In her book, Moving Sites: Investigating Site-Specific Dance Performances, author Victoria Hunter cites Kreiter as a leader in the field of site-specific dance.
ABOUT FLYAWAY PRODUCTIONS
Flyaway Productions specializes in the art of placemaking. Founded in 1996 by Jo Kreiter, Flyaway Productions is an apparatus-based dance company that explores the range and power of female physicality and advances social issues in the public realm. The company uses the artistry of spinning, flying and suspension to engage political and social issues. Flyaway creates dances on both architectural and fabricated steel objects, typically off the ground, with dancers suspended anywhere from two to 100 feet above ground level. Flyaway has developed nationally recognized expertise in creating and presenting site-specific performance work. Since its founding, the company has presented or co-presented numerous large scale works including: Mission Wall Dances, Copra Dock Dances, How To Be a Citizen, The Live Billboard Project, The Ballad of Polly Ann, Niagara Falling, Multiple Mary and Invisible Jane, Needles to Thread and Grace and Delia are Gone.
Flyaway's site-specific works are often free to the public, engaging a wide audience that otherwise might never attend a professional dance performance. Recent projects include dances for The Women's Building Centennial; the Rincon Annex, commemorating its labor history; and in Niagara Falling at 7th and Market Streets in San Francisco, giving a human face to urban decay and renewal. Through its GIRLFLY program, Flyaway also provides youth dance training that stimulates awareness of the physical body and of the social framework that undervalues women and girls.
ABOUT THE TENDERLOIN MUSEUM
The Tenderloin Museum, which opened in July 2015, celebrates the rich history of one of San Francisco's most overlooked neighborhoods. Through history exhibitions, resident-led walking tours, community programs and the presentation of original artwork, the Tenderloin Museum invites all comers to learn about the roots of this dynamic neighborhood, and reclaim the city's past and future.
ABOUT CODE TENDERLOIN
Code Tenderloin provides dignity and opportunity through an intense job readiness and workforce development program. Through partnership with other organizations, the organization provides social, financial, legal and emotional support.
ABOUT THE ASIAN ART MUSEUM OF SAN FRANCISCO
Strategically located on the Pacific Rim and serving one of the most diverse communities in the United States, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco - Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture is uniquely positioned to lead a diverse, global audience in discovering the distinctive materials, aesthetics and intellectual achievements of Asian art and cultures, and to serve as a bridge of understanding between Asia and the United States and between the diverse cultures of Asia. The Museum houses one of the most comprehensive Asian art collections in the world, with more than 18,000 works of art in its permanent collection, some as much as 6,000 years old.
ABOUT AU CO VIETNAMESE CULTURAL CENTER
The Au Co Vietnamese Cultural Center is a nonprofit organization run entirely by volunteer efforts. The Center began as a language school in 1983, first established by the Vietnamese Elderly Mutual Assistant Association of San Francisco, offering one of the first Vietnamese language classes in Northern California. In 2005, seeing a large increase in the size and needs of the community, the language school became the Au Co Vietnamese Cultural Center with the mission to perpetuate the language and culture of the Vietnamese; promote knowledge and a better understanding of Vietnamese heritage and cultural traditions; promote diversity and enrich multicultural communities; and help build strong communication and understanding between generations and across different communities. FACT SHEET WHAT:The world premiere of TENDER (n.): a person who takes charge, co-presented by Flyaway Productions and the Tenderloin Museum.
Choreographer & Director: Jo KreiterDancers: Bianca Cabrera, Laura Elaine Ellis, Sonsherée Giles, MaryStarr Hope, Yayoi Kambara, Megan Lowe, Honey MahoganyComposer: Vân-Ánh VõSet & Rigging Designer: Sean Riley Lighting Designer: David RobertsonCostume Designer: Jamielyn Dugan
WHEN:June 7 - 9, 14 - 16, 2018Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. Fridays at 12:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
WHERE:Cadillac Hotel380 Eddy Street San Francisco, CA 94102
TICKETS: FREENo advance reservation required.