Monday, October 1, 2012

Audience Says, "Ouch" as STREB Performs Very Physical Dance

Audience Says, "Ouch" as STREB Performs 

 Very Physical Dance

Giant steel beam seesaw
Helene Vidovich and Martin Thomas

We go to the theater to be transported from our seats into the imagination of the artists.
Dance in the age of digital media is different than that of Martha Graham or the NYC Ballet.  The use of video feeds and files, computers and projectors changes the focus. I didn't know whether to look at what the projector was displaying, what the dancers were doing or at their silhouettes on the back screen.

Elizabeth Mitchell
Streb Choreographer
Streb, aka known as the Evil Knieval of dance, is a bang-up exhibition of acrobatic tumbles, jumps and flat-out face-down, or face-up, slams onto a mat.  Streb with her cast from the tough streets of Brooklyn, tries to exploit "extreme action." They called their pieces "action events." I kept saying, "ow, that had to hurt!"   Some examples: Doing the "Limbo" with a spinning I beam suspended from a chain -- jumping from 10 feet, 20 feet, even 30 feet face down onto the mats -- hanging bound, while upside down, from a rope panicking -- "flying" by use of a giant steel-beam see-saw on a turntable -- writhing in an open ended box suspended from the ceiling.  
The sets: raw metal, chains, brick, mats and the workout wardrobe, were matched with industrial sounds of a loud bass rumble.  There was also a turntable within a turntable made up of mats on the floor, that were used with camera feeds projected with great effect.  Another event had a large diagonal mat where the cast log-rolled with, and over each other. These action events, brought to mind childhood times and playground fun.  

Some of their pieces were more traditional modern dance-like and very gratifying.  One had a backdrop of a spinning planet while the dancers appeared to fly over it suspended in harnesses.  Another, my favorite, "Anti-gravity,"  had the dancers flat on the floor with an overhead camera feed projecting their images onto the backdrop, making them appear weightless on a distant planet.  This "action event" had the audience in awe, like children watching fire works.  All in all, Streb did transport us from our seats into their imaginations. But, ouch! some of those falls had to hurt.

Helene Vidovich, Freelance Cultural Reporter
Martin Thomas, Videographer ~ Troubadour

1 comment:

  1. Nice report, guys! Now you've got me looking for Streb performances in Michigan! Keep up the great work!

    Ryan Claytor
    Elephant Eater Comics