Outside the Box: The 'Evel Knievel' of dance, choreographer Elizabeth Streb.
Elizabeth Streb has been described as a fusion of Emmett Kelly, Albert Einstein, and Martha Graham, and it's not hard to see why. The Brooklyn-based choreographer has spent her career challenging and defying what we perceive to be the physical limitations of the human body. Her work often strays away from the conventional dance 'format', incorporating, circus, acrobatic, gymnastic and stuntman/daredevil-type displays of athleticism that leave audiences breathless and exhilirated (...not to mention the performers!). Streb was a natural born adrenalin-seeker herself, participating in extreme sports from a young age, including skiing, motorcycling and other sports such as basketball and baseball. Initially, after leaving university with an undergraduate degree in Modern Dance Streb danced with the Margaret Jenkins Company. It wasn't long though before she became disillusioned with the current conventions of Contemporary and Modern dance, styles that claimed to be un-restrictive and innovative but to Streb, were to an extent, 'fundamentally dishonest, and based on practises that were intended to camouflage the effects of gravity and impact, rather than put them on display'.
As a result Streb went on to found a company of her own (Streb/Ringside) that would continue the experimentation and exploration of movement that so interested Streb. Today the company is not only flourishing, but has evolved into a 'movement lab', with the S.L.A.M. (Streb Lab for Action Mechanics) space being constantly open to the public, free to view all parts of the creative process, as well as offering many action-based classes for children, adults, beginners and experienced people alike.
Streb's fearless performers: