Aerial dance fueled by ‘Lies’

San Francisco aerial choreographer Jo Kreiter is taking on some heavy issues in her contribution to ODC Theater’s three-weekend festival exploring the politics of dancing.

“I felt compelled to do something that responded to the war,” Kreiter says of her piece, “Lies You Can Dance To.”

The dance, on a bill with Burmese-American Butoh artist Ledoh’s “Color Me America,” is being presented today through Saturday in the first program of “For the Record: Dancers Debate the Body Politic,” which runs through May 10.

Kreiter, who heads the troupe Flyaway Productions, says the commissioned dance is the result of “researching questions about the lies that have come out of Washington in eight years — how they are in our bodies.”

While there’s no direct reference to the war in the piece, Kreiter says, “We as dancers are the subjects.”

She points to feelings of apathy, untrustworthiness and “being poisoned” while the mainstream media manages to be both a culprit and a victim when it comes to the unacceptable state of current — and historical — affairs.

Beth Custer wrote the original score for the dance, which employs distinct props and takes place indoors, at Project Artaud Theater; the space is serving as the venue for the festival while the ODC Theater building in the Mission undergoes renovations.

“There’s great variety in the piece,” Kreiter says, “with flight and dancing on the ground.”

While Kreiter’s company is best known for traveling outdoor performances in high places — such as on billboards — this dance is specifically designed for a theater space.

It’s also different for Kreiter in that it has touches of humor (“I’m not much of a comedian,” she says) and an obvious message.

“This piece has pushed me in new directions,” Kreiter says of its concrete, rather than abstract, form of communication.

She’s amused by the reaction of people familiar with her choreography who previewed the work in test audiences. Some of the feedback included the comment, “Usually you make me work a lot harder.”

IF YOU GO

For the Record: Dancers Debate the Body Politic

Where: Project Artaud Theater, 450 Florida St., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. today through Saturday

Tickets: $18 to $25

Contact: (415) 863-9834 or www.odctheater.org

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