Art and Its Impact on Social Change

After completing a spring residency at Bethany Arts Community, dance company Flyaway Productions returns this fall with “Apparatus of Repair,” the powerful final installment in a trilogy that explores themes of incarceration and restorative justice. Three free performances will take place in early October in conjunction with BAC’s Season of Justice programming, a collaboration with Sing Sing Prison Museum, Hudson Link for Higher Education and the Sing Sing Family Collective, among others. 

Community involvement in “Apparatus of Repair” has been central to its development, with men from Sing Sing in direct conversation with Flyaway Productions’ founder Jo Kreiter, to shape the performance’s middle section. During her residency, Hudson Link arranged a meeting with Kreiter and five residents at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, including Joseph Wilson, a composer, family collective founder, and curator of BAC’s upcoming “From Love” exhibit. “The final piece in the trilogy looks at alternatives to incarceration and centers the restorative justice process as an alternative to caging,” Kreiter said. 

“Apparatus of Repair” will involve apparatus-style dance, or acro-dance, which Kreiter describes as using objects to “expand suspension and flight for the human body.” The performance will take place outside, on the façade of a BAC building. All of the apparatuses used were designed specifically for the piece’s choreography.  

“We are working with nine-foot poles that resemble prison bars, that create a boundary between those harmed and those who have caused harm — that recognize the false narrative of that binary,” Kreiter said. “They roll on the wall via large wheels, giving new kinds of mobility to the dancers who are working with the object.” 

“Apparatus of Repair” is the final section in Flyaway’s series titled “The Decarceration Trilology.” Kreiter said her inspiration for the work came from a deeply personal place. “The trilogy began in response to my partner’s incarceration. He was incarcerated for six years and at that time I lived in a state of isolation, shame, and single motherhood that many women experience when a close family member is locked up.” 

The company previously performed the trilogy’s first installment, “The Wait Room,” in 2019 in the park outside Sing Sing. “It was a powerful performance and I expect the next production will be equally compelling,” said Brent Glass, executive director of Sing Sing Prison Museum. “I believe that artists play an essential role in raising awareness about social and racial justice.”  

For Kreiter, the series has also confirmed how art serves as an agent for change. “I have never been more certain, after creating the Trilogy, that art is an essential tool to create social change.”  

See “Apparatus of Repair” and more Season of Justice events at BAC: 

Performance Schedule: 

  •        Oct. 6 – Thursday, 7:30 p.m. 
  •        October 7 – Friday, 7:30 p.m. 
  •        October 8 – Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

There will be a post-performance conversation with the creators on 10/7 and 10/8 

 More: 

  •        Sept 21 – Justice Talks webinar with “Apparatus of Repair” creators and collaborators
  •        Oct 8 – Nov 5 – Gallery Exhibit: “With Love” 

To learn more, visit Bethany Arts Community visit bethanyarts.org 

All photos by Fred Elmes. 

 

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About the Author: Gina Carey