What is STREB EXTREME ACTION?
“My investigation of movement has led me to choices which vary from traditional norms. My dancers and I see the rehearsal as a laboratory for testing scientific principles on the body. We invent action ideas which we think are archetypal, noticeable, understandable. The outcome is a mixture of slam dancing, exquisite and amazing human flight and a wild action sport which captures kids, older people and the general public’s hearts and minds and bodies.”
STREB Extreme Action Company History
The members of Elizabeth Streb's company, STREB (originally Streb/Ringside), combine virtuosity and technical skill with openhearted popular appeal. Founded in New York City in 1985 by choreographer Elizabeth Streb, the company has traveled, artistically as well as geographically, from the heights of the experimental dance world to the cutting-edge of popular entertainment.
Over the course of two decades, STREB has performed in theaters large and small and served as artists-in-residence at the world's top art museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Los Angeles MOCA, the Wexner Center in Columbus, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
STREB was commissioned by the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Mayor of London to participate in the London 2012 Festival. On One Extraordinary Day (July 15, 2012), from dawn to midnight, STREB dancers performed 7 action events across major London landmarks including the Millennium Bridge, Trafalgar Square and ending with HUMAN EYE, where 32 daring STREB Action Heroes performed a spoke-dance on the towering, iconic landmark of The London Eye. In 2011, the STREB company performed sold-out shows at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City, the Whitney Museum of American Art's downtown groundbreaking and Gansevoort Square, and at the River to River Festival. At the same time, they have taken their slam-bam action out of hallowed halls and into the streets and sports stadiums. They've appeared in numerous public performances: at Grand Central Station in Manhattan; in front of the Cyclone roller coaster at Coney Island's fairground; and under the arches of the Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage where they flew above their audience, suspended from a 40-foot wall. They dove through glass as part of V-Day, an anti-violence-against-women event at Madison Square Garden; and mesmerized sports fans during halftime at a Seattle Sonics basketball game, and before the National Anthem over the pitcher's mound at the Minneapolis Metrodome for a Twins/Yankees game. The company's extensive touring calendar has included presentations at the Lincoln Center Festival, the Wolf Trap Foundation, the Walker Art Center, Spoleto USA, the Barbican Center in London, the Theatre de la Ville in Paris, at both the Brisbane and Melbourne Festivals in Australia and in Chile, Singapore and Taiwan and at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
STREB has appeared on television, with David Letterman on CBS, surrounded by kids climbing walls on Nickelodeon, as well as in the one-hour documentary PopAction, directed by Michael Blackwood, which plays repeatedly on PBS. And in 2004, when Cirque du Soleil celebrated their 20th anniversary, they invited STREB to perform with them in front of 250,000 people on the streets of Montreal.
STREB's company members have accrued no end of art-world awards. And they've won the love of generations of school children, sports lovers, TV watchers and thrill seekers to people who may never have felt welcomed in a dance environment. The action-engineers of STREB are top-notch performers, with years of training in ballet, modern dance, martial arts, acrobatics and circus skills. Many also have teacher's credentials and all share a keen interest in education, sociology and expanding the national appetite for live time performance.
When they're not touring the world, the STREB company's home is SLAM, the STREB Lab for Action Mechanics, in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. All public all the time, at SLAM they rehearse, hold classes for children and adults (starting at 18 months) and twice a year perform works-in-progress for the community. In her review for The Village Voice, Deborah Jowitt best described the experience of watching STREB work: I feel in my own body the riskiness, the transgressiveness of her work, with people crashing to mats, hanging from bars, clinging to surfaces, if you're not one of those wincing, you'll see in the work of STREB and her courageous dancers a redemptive vision of human daring and ingenuity.