Street and Mailing Address
STREB LABORATORY for ACTION MECHANICS
51 North 1st Street
Brooklyn, New York, 11249
Artistic Director: Elizabeth Streb
Executive Director: Christine Chen
Associate Artistic Director: Cassandre Joseph
Finance Manager: Henry Liles
España–Streb Trapeze Academy Director and Business Development Manager: Bobby Hedglin-Taylor
Director of Programming: Mary Schindler
Company Manager: Shannon Reynolds
España–Streb Trapeze Academy Manager – Ayal Prouser
Intern Coordinator: Gabby Cirilo
Now Hiring: Technical Director
Press Inquiries and to book Elizabeth Streb for speaking engagements
Rental and Special Event Inquiries
To Book STREB EXTREME ACTION Performance Engagements & Residencies
To arrange a residency or field trip with your school or organization
Board of Directors
Christine Chen (ex-officio)
John Charles Thomas
Danita S. Geltner
Thomas A. Gentile
Catharine R. Stimpson
STREB Administrative Team
Click for bio
MacArthur “Genius” Award-winner, Elizabeth Streb has dived through glass, allowed a ton of dirt to fall on her head, walked down (the outside of) London’s City Hall, and set herself on fire, among other feats of extreme action. Her popular book, STREB: How to Become an Extreme Action Hero, was made into a hit documentary, Born to Fly directed by Catherine Gund (Aubin Pictures), which premiered at SXSW and received an extended run at The Film Forum in New York City in 2014. Streb founded the STREB Extreme Action Company in 1979. In 2003, she established SLAM, the STREB Lab for Action Mechanics, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. SLAM’s garage doors are always open: anyone and everyone can come in, watch rehearsals, take classes, and learn to fly.
Elizabeth Streb was invited to present a TED Talk (‘My Quest To Defy Gravity and Fly’) at TED 2018: THE AGE OF AMAZEMENT. She has been a featured speaker presenting her keynote lectures at such places as the Rubin Museum of Art (in conversation with Dr. John W. Krakauer), TEDxMET, the Institute for Technology and Education (ISTE), POPTECH, the Institute of Contemporary Art (in conversation with physicist, Brain Greene), The Brooklyn Museum of Art (in conversation with author A.M. Homes), the National Performing Arts Convention, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), the Penny Stamps Speaker Series at the University of Michigan, Chorus America, the University of Utah, and as a Caroline Werner Gannett Project speaker in Rochester NY, among others.
Rough and Tumble Alec Wilkinson’s profile of Elizabeth Streb, appeared in The New Yorker magazine in June, 2015.
Streb received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius’ Award in 1997. She holds a Master of Arts in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University, a Bachelor of Science in Modern Dance from SUNY Brockport, and honorary doctorates from SUNY Brockport, Rhode Island College and Otis College of Art and Design. Streb has received numerous other awards and fellowships including the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1987; a Brandeis Creative Arts Award in 1991; two New York Dance and Performance Awards (Bessie Awards), in 1988 and 1999 for her “sustained investigation of movement;” a Doris Duke Artist Award in 2013; and over 30 years of on-going support from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). In 2009, Streb was the Danspace Project Honoree. She served on Mayor Bloomberg’s Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission and is a member of the board of the Jerome Foundation.
Major commissions for choreography include: Lincoln Center Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center, MOCA, LA Temporary Contemporary, the Whitney Museum of Art, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, the Park Avenue Armory, London 2012, the Cultural Olympiad for the Summer Games, CityLab Paris 2018, the opening of Bloomberg’s new headquarters in London, Musée D’Orsay, the re-opening of the Théâtre du Châtelet, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Born to Fly aired on PBS on May 11, 2014 and is currently available on iTunes. OXD, directed by Craig Lowy, which follows STREB at the 2012 London Olympics, premiered at the IFC theater in New York City on February 2, 2016. Streb and her company have also been featured in PopAction by Michael Blackwood, on PBS’s In The Life and Great Performances, The David Letterman Show, BBC World News, CBS Sunday Morning, CBS This Morning, Business Insider, CNN’s Weekend Today, MTV, on the National Public Radio shows Studio 360 and Science Friday, and on Larry King Live.
Christine Chen returned to STREB as the organization’s Executive Director in August 2019. She re-joined STREB most recently from the 92nd Street Y, where she served as Director of Strategic Programming, overseeing the Adult Education and Dance departments, as well as new strategic programming initiatives. Prior to joining 92Y in 2014, Christine served as Executive Director of American Repertory Ballet and Princeton Ballet School. Highlights from her previous professional dance career include performing as an Action Hero with the STREB Extreme Action Company from 2004-2007; dancing with AXIS Dance Company in works by Bill T. Jones and Stephen Petronio at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics; and dancing while dangling off multi-story buildings and industrial cranes with Flyaway Productions. Christine holds an undergraduate degree from Princeton University in Sociology, an MFA in Dance from the Ohio State University, and an MBA in Strategic Management from the University of California, Davis.
Cassandre Joseph was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Her investigation in movement began at the age of four with the sport of gymnastics. Over a span of twenty years as a competitive gymnast, she earned several state and regional titles. She graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. in English Literature and studied journalism at Temple University’s graduate communications program. She joined Streb in 2007 as an instructor and company member and when she is not seen in a rehearsal or teaching classes at SLAM she has been seen ziplining across the Park Avenue Armory, scaling the walls of the Bergdorf building and dancing on the spokes of the London Eye. In addition to her performance work with the company Cassandre is the Creative Director of the STREB Kid Company since 2010. For the STREB Kid Company, she has choreographed and self-produced three evening length works: Heroes (2015), Momentum (2016) and Navigation (2017). For the past 6 years she has acted as STREB’s education liaison. In September 2017, Cassandre Joseph was appointed Associate Artistic Director of STREB Extreme Action and is now in charge of overseeing SLAM’s education program. She is a strong believer in the transformative power of movement and is passionate about empowering young people to push boundaries and expand their notions of what is possible. Cassandre is grateful to do what she loves everyday and to work for a real life genius! When she is not creating action events at STREB, she can be found training her daughter Nia to be a mini-action hero.
Henry Liles received a B.A. and M.A in Russian from Middlebury College in Vermont. After teaching on the secondary level for five years, he started working in the dance world as an interpreter for the Paul Taylor Dance Company’s tour to the Soviet Union in 1978 and later became Taylor’s company manager and general manager. He subsequently worked in various capacities with Peter Pucci Plus Dancers and David Dorfman Dance, among others. Liles has served as STREB’s Finance Manager since 2003. He also does finance and bookkeeping work for Urban Bush Women and Pick-Up Performance Co(s).
Mary Schindler, a New Orleans native, currently resides in New York City where she is the Director of Programming for STREB EXTREME ACTION. She has been with STREB since 2013 and can also be found teaching acrobatics or flying trapeze classes at SLAM. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance Performance and choreography from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Dance Performance and Choreography from Florida State University. Mary’s choreography was selected twice to represent FSU at the American College Dance Festival Southeastern Conference and was selected to perform in the ACDF gala. Recently Mary’s work was seen at the White Wave DUMBO Dance Festival and in the GO! Emerging Artists Commissioning Program. Mary attended the American Dance Festival on scholarship as the assistant for the dean, Gerri Houlihan and has had the privilege of performing works by Loren Davidson, Meredith Early, Gerri Houlihan, Kelly Ferris Lester, Rick McCullough, Shellie Nielsen, Stacy Reischman Fletcher, and Lauren Slone. Her students can be seen in major dance programs across the country, performing in professional companies, on Broadway, and teaching around the country.
Shannon Reynolds, Company Manager, was raised in Massachusetts and holds her BA in Health Science and Dance from Russell Sage College and an MPA from Mercy College. Prior to joining STREB in 2017, Shannon taught dance throughout New York including Albany, Westchester and Rockland County. Shannon began her career with STREB as the Assistant to the Artistic Director. Since then she has grown within the company holding the position of Community Programs Manager and most currently Company Manager. She is also a founding member of eSKay Arts Collective, a small collaborative who supports NYC based artists through sharing resources and engaging the talents and support of fellow artists.
Bobby Hedglin Taylor’s career spans four decades and multiple disciplines including circus, clowning, theater, dance, ballet, film and television. Bobby joined STREB as the Director of the España-STREB Trapeze Academy 16 years ago and his role has grown to encompass the organization’s party, rental and corporate training events. He is a sought after aerial coach who has trained cast members and replacements for the hit Broadway revival of Pippin, including Patina Miller and Andrea Martin for their Tony award-winning roles. He also trained Tony award-nominee, Rob McClure, on tightrope for the 2012 Broadway musical Chaplin. Off-Broadway, he brought circus aerial to the fairies in A Midsummer Nights Dream at Classic Stage Company starring Bebe Neuwirth and Christina Ricci, and his aerial choreography has been featured in Broadway Bares, Broadway Cares’ annual AIDS fundraiser, and he’s the cirque choreographer on the Holland America Cruise Lines. As an aerial sequence designer Bobby has designed 29 productions of the musical Barnum, as well as training and sequencing for shows including Aida, Disney’s Tarzan, Carnival, Thomas the Tank Engine Live, Madagascar Live and Annie Get Your Gun. As a performer, Bobby has appeared with the rock band PHISH in their surprise New Years eve performances in 2012 and 2018 as well as on the small screen in reality shows including Marriage Ref, Wife Swap, Fashion Emergency, Matched in Manhattan, What Not to Wear and on Inside Edition, NY1, WNBC News, WPIX News and more. Prior to his work in circus, Bobby was a staple in musical theater in shows like A Wonderful Life, Cabaret, 42nd Street, Singing in the Rain, Kiss of the Spider Woman and A Chorus Line. His former students have performed all over the world in shows including the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, Cirque Du Soleil, Disney Parks, Sea World, Hershey Park, Busch Gardens, Disney on Ice, The Pickle Family Circus and the Big Apple Circus.
Ayal Prouser has been a professional circus artist and coach for over 10 years. He joined STREB as a flying trapeze instructor in 2016, was promoted to the lead instructor and rig manager in 2019 and became the España-STREB Trapeze Academy Manager in 2020. He has performed and taught across the United States as well as in Asia and Africa and was a two-time recipient of the GO! An Emerging Artists Commissioning Program Residency from STREB and the Jerome Foundation. As a performer, he juggled in the New York Fringe Festival and unofficially holds the world record for the most balls juggled while hanging upside down (5!). After completing a Masters at Columbia University, he now has two forthcoming academic publications on the subject of circus arts. His research area is on the intersection of queer theory and film theory, subject he has presented at conferences internationally and domestically.