Nathan Nirschl and Hannah Straney discuss some of the dance moves they’ll be doing during the filming of ‘Dust’ in November of 2020.

by Dave Warner

Back in November, Hannah Straney started working on a concept that she had about creating dance films in Little Falls. Now, four months later, the first of several films that she plans to produce has been released.

“The idea from the very beginning was that we would mix all of these different mediums together, to make something different,” she stated.

Straney thinks that a lot of the spaces in Little Falls lend themselves to these kinds of performances. “It’s great to be able to bring people up from the City and be able to offer them space to dance, and then include other people in the creation.”

She knows that it sounds cliche, but “It came out so much better than I thought it would. It was kind of a late notice project and everything felt like it had been thrown together, and four months later to have something this polished and cohesive between all three parts feels great.”

Technically this is the second of her projects, but footage from the first one has not been put together yet. She said that the response to this film has been good so far, and people are happy with it. “It’s coming out at a difficult time. There’s social unrest in the world and a lot of people are very angry, upset, and fearful.”

Her next film is another dance film featuring artists that are currently living in Utica. She said, “It’s a husband and wife team. He’s a jazz drummer from Hungary and the wife is a dancer that I grew up with, and we’ll be creating a more narrative film that will surround his music.”

Straney said that she is planning to shoot this film in Little Falls as well, and it will be a little bit longer – in the five to seven-minute range. “I’m bringing in a film crew from Brooklyn (Retrograde Studios), two other people whose job is creating and making films.”

She says this next one will be a ‘narrative’ film – one that has a story that’s easy to follow, but not always having people speaking. “Something that has a  beginning, middle, and end and you get your own interpretation.”

The film is pretty clear in her head, but she said that bringing in people from Brooklyn whose actual job is to create the film, that they will have a chance to weigh in. “I’ll tell them here’s the story I’d like to tell, but how do you guys see this coming together your way?”

Straney has created the storyline, rough sketches, and much more that she’s sent to the team in Brooklyn. “I try to stay out of the shot list business because they are the professionals and I am a ‘wanna be’ director.”

She said that if she’s not actually dancing in a film, she would be interested in directing them. “Summer opens up a whole lot of other opportunities for shooting up here, so we’ll see.”

Little Falls has space and availability and it’s a real plus. “People can come up here and create things without judgment or pressure and it can just be yours – like really yours. In some ways, there’s more opportunity up here to do what you want to do,” she stated.

“I would also love for people to be interested in the next project. I’m hoping that this can be a little fountain of inspiration for people to keep following along, to continue watching for the next one,” she stated.

She also wanted to thank Daniel Preston for the use of the space on the second floor of the former Vincent Manufacturing building currently under renovation. His future plans for the 2nd and 3rd floor of the building include the creation of MoVa MoCa, or the Mohawk Valley Museum of Contemporary Art.

Straney is going to be crowdsourcing the next films and is working with The Creative Outpost, Inc., a 501c3 in Little Falls to help raise the needed capital.

If you’d like to help, you can make a donation here, for the project “Untitled Work. No. 2”, or, you can donate via Venmo @Hannah-Straney.

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