Rosie, Meet Polly

The Alfred Zampa Memorial Bridge spans the Carquinez Strait, and is the only bridge in the country named for a worker. Local aerial dance company Flyaway Productions uses the bridge as a figurative and almost-literal jumping-off place for The Ballad of Polly Ann, a new piece celebrating hard-hatted women bridge workers. We're guessing it's the only evening of dance in the country inspired by piledriving. It uses an elaborate, highly engineered, motile set based on the Zampa bridge, and please notice this is an aerial company: Flyaway's artistic director Jo Kreiter describes the work as "off-the-ground dances." And even though Flyaway's dancers are almost always in what appears to be danger, suspended from the side of a building or hanging out of a tree or crane in previous shows, this performance is special. "This particular task is probably the hardest thing I have ever asked dancers to do," Kreiter says of Ballad, which she undertook with only the help of six female bridge workers, labor historian Harvey Schwartz, well-known experimental musician Pamela Z, and a hell of a production crew — the rigging alone is extraordinary, and the evening also includes a little onstage welding.
July 14-25, 8 p.m., 2009

 
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