Site-Specific Surprises

August 31, 2012

SAM Luckey in Jo Kreiter’s
Niagara Falling. Photo by Kitfox Valentin/Rapt Productions, Courtesy Kreiter.



A former hospital in Brooklyn; the facade of a theater in downtown San Francisco; the sidewalks of the South Bronx: Performances will be cropping up in all sorts of places this fall. Here are a few site-specific highlights of the season ahead.


Editor’s note: The location of
Niagara Falling (below) changed after press time. It will now be held at the west wall of the Renoir Hotel, about a block away from the Orpheum Theatre.


Before Punchdrunk’s wildly popular Sleep No More came to NYC, there was another immersive dance-theater experience wherein spectators trail performers through murky corridors and lavishly decked-out rooms: Third Rail Projects’ Steampunk Haunted House. This year, the four-year-old production gets a Lewis Carroll–inspired makeover, complete with drinkable elixirs and choose-your-own-adventure twists and turns. Now called Then She Fell, the intimate work takes place at Arts@Renaissance, a former hospital wing in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Just 15 audience members fall down the rabbit hole at each show, starting Oct. 6.

San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre might seem like a mundane venue for Jo Kreiter and her all-female company Flyaway Productions, considering where they usually perform: rooftops, construction sites, fire escapes. It’s not the traditional stage, though, but an outside wall of the theater where their new multimedia aerial dance event, Niagara Falling, will unfold Sept. 26–29. In an exploration of urban decay and renewal, dancers scale the side of the building via steel life boat, at times fighting the current of video projections by David and Hi-Jin Hodge that layer images of San Francisco and Niagara Falls.

In PASEO, Oct. 6, choreographer Joanna Haigood joins forces with Latin percussionist Bobby Sanabria to tap into the vibrant cultural history of the South Bronx. The traveling performance, part of Dancing in the Streets’ two-year South Bronx Culture Trail initiative, goes landmark-hopping through Hunts Point and Longwood, neighborhoods that were home to a hotbed of musical creativity during the 1950s and ’60s. Vignettes along the way feature dancers, musicians, and local residents, all leading up to a star-studded salsa concert and dance party.