Loud, Dangerous, Thrilling! The Action Heroes of STREB Forces

STREB Company crew member in action as she dives off the metal stage beam arms stretched out

Looking for something a little different to amuse the crew this holiday season? How about a dance troupe of Action Heroes that, among their many other crazy maneuvers, leap from a 20 feet above the crowd and land literally face first on the stage? With a BANG!!

If you've ever seen the STREB Company, maybe recently at the Fall for Dance Festival, you know what I'm talking about. Named after founder, choreographer, and action-guru Elizabeth Streb, these young men and woman hurtle their bodies around as if they were invincible. Slamming into plexi-glass, dodging (barely!) whirling metal I-beams, flying into walls, floors, each other, but in such a graceful, exuberant manner that you begin to believe that maybe YOU'RE the one who's crazy for being so cautious with your physical being, and such a slave to laws like "gravity." 

Action shot of two members of Streb Company crashing into one another, but just barely missing as one jumps over the other

The Action Heros of STREB

I had been to a STREB show years ago with my kids, and returned to her now-renovated space in Williamsburg—-she calls it, simply, SLAM–on opening night of Forces, this season's show. Yes, everything's very muscular at STREB. Anyway, Forces is fun, fast-paced and guaranteed to have have you wincing in your seat as you watch these Action Heroes do their thing. The show is broken up into a dozen dances (plus intermission) with names like CRASH, TUMULT, FLY, SLICE, and HIT. Each is introduced by a video of Elizabeth Streb herself, courtesy of her giant head projected on a screen at the back of the stage, which sounds like it could be annoying, but she's smart and lucid and totally passionate about her work, so it's a pleasure to hear philosophize about art, movement, physics, invention, and risk.

The STREB crew members on ROCKET, an elaborate spinning contraption that the company climbs and walks and flies all over


All of STREB's Forces is entertaining (especially if you've never seen her work; parts of this can feel a bit overly familiar if you've been before), but my favorite bits were SLICE, with an I-beam that seemed certain to smash into these poor dancers' faces, but amazingly doesn't; ROCKET, with an elaborate spinning contraption that the company climbs and walks and flies all over; and ROTATE, in which the stage floor becomes a giant turntable, the center moving in a different direction than the perimeter, and upon which the Action Heroes put on a remarkable display of balance and timing. The only downside to the STREB show is the seating: these are backless bleachers, you're given a tiny section for your butt, and you have pretty much zero leg room because of the person in front of you. You will definitely want to stretch and maybe get another bag of popcorn during intermission.        

STREB Forces dance troupe of Action Heroes performs gymnastics and maneuvers.

More Information: STREB Forces

STREB: Forces runs through December 22, with showtimes on Thursday through Sunday. For lots more information–about the show, to buy tickets and to learn about classes, visit STREB online!

At the end of the STREB show, the crew stands together holding each other's hands in the air as the audience cheers their performance

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