If you thought flight was beyond the capacity of human beings, Elizabeth Streb will make you think again. This legendary New York artist has spent her lifetime obsessively challenging the limitations of human motion: and gravity is not going to get in her way.
Streb is a something of a legend - much documented and much decorated with both scholarly and performing arts awards. She 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. She is also an in inspiring speaker with a magnetic personality.
Starting out as a darling of the New York post-modern scene with her experimental, outdoor choreography, she has since become a cutting-edge popular entertainer with her outlandish, physically astonishing spectaculars. She formed her group STREB EXTREME ACTION in 1979 and with her performers has explored gravity-defying, choreographic stunts and “unflinching explorations of physics” (The New York Times) which are as much circus and acrobatic feats as dance performances. For example, in 2012 her group performed at the London Olympics, abseiling off landmark structures such as the London Eye and the Millenium Bridge. She is as excited by bodies hurling into the air as the sound of them crashing into the ground and has even designed her own elaborate machinery to enable her imaginative quests. She sees her work as a scientific study - not many people would state that they wish they could access quantum mechanics so that bodies could go through each other instead of just around.
Now, for the first time, STREB EXTREME ACTION will visit Australia, as one of the highlights of the Adelaide Festival. The company is presenting Time Machine, in which her dancers will become "Action Heroes who thrill, scare and delight their audiences". It is bound to be jaw-dropping. Time Machine will run from March 14-17 at Her Majesty's Theatre.
Also on the program are Akram Khan Company with Jungle Book reimagined, Restless Dance Company’s Private View, Australian Dance Theatre’s Marrow (both world premieres) and Dance North’s spectacular Wayfinder. The Festival will also hold the world premiere of Baleen Moondjan, from Stephen Page, his first major commission since leaving Bangarra Dance Theatre.
- KAREN VAN ULZEN
The Adelaide Festival runs from March 1 to 17.