Since it had been ten years since Elizabeth Streb’s dancers have performed their daring feats here, a blizzard last night was not going to stop xxxtreme action dance fans from attending her new work DARE on the Annenberg stage. It was just all part of the funsies.
By intermission parents were helpless in getting their kids to stop trying to mimic Streb dancers. As fearless as the troupe is jumping off what she lovingly calls ‘Ivory Towers’ of modern dance. “I actually think of this as a variety show.“ and to take dance in new directions “The spirit of modern dance from Martha to Isadora trying to enrich movement, leaving ballet and that is what we are trying to do. Naturally, I have a deep respect for acrobats, this isn’t just tricks, it’s a new syntax with dance.”
Within an hour of arriving in Philly this week Streb was orchestrating the assemblage of 14 tons of set apparatus used for the premiere. In performance the obvious favorite was the Whizzing Gizmo, a two story wheel pendulum that they propel with their bodies and partner like a whirling jungle gym.
Streb’s company has collaborated with Cirque du Soliel and recently performed in Vancouver at the Winter Olympic trials. She keeps upping the ante for her audiences and is writing “longer sentences’ choreographically in her singular genre that welds dance and acrobat vocabulary as art and as a spectator sport.. Her troupe eight performers “couldn’t be more fearless” she said in an interview this week.
So unique that there are no apprentices or stand – ins “if someone is down for the count, there is no way safe way to replace them without ongoing rehearsals.” Streb said. “We have developed accoutrements and apparatus that take dance in different directions.”