Friday, February 5, 2010

STREB in Performance

"Airlines" from Elizabeth Streb's Brave

Although we had ticket's to the STREB's newest work called Brave on Saturday evening, an impending snowstorm along the East Coast led us to exchange our tickets for last night's performance (February 4). What a show!

Not exactly dance, and not exactly Cirque du Soleil, Elizabeth Streb (who was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Award in 1997) calls her company's performances Extreme Action Events. We were treated to 10 such Action Events last night executed by eight incredibly athletic Actioneers.

Some of the Actioneers

The best Action Events included "Polar Wander"during which the Actioneers interacted with an I-beam suspended mid-length from a steel cable and set awhirl, "Airlines" in which the Actioneers slam danced on a two-part concentrically-arranged circular stage that rotated in opposite directions, and the finale, "Super Position," that included a finely-balanced hamster wheel for playful adults. I'm sure I would have killed myself if I had tried it, but the Actioneers made the movement look so effortless and fun.

"Super Position"

There were only two klinkers out of the ten Action Events: "Falling" in which the Actioneers fell face first from increasingly greater heights onto thick foam pads (intimidating but not inspired), and "Robot" in which choreographer Streb accompanied a foot-tall robot onto stage while the robot executed some amazingly complex movements (unfortunately, the robot kept tipping over on its back).
This has been the finest series of dance performances I have had the opportunity to enjoy in the ten years that we've had this subscription series. I hope the rest of the season will be comparable.