STREB is coming to Memorial Hall tonight to have an adventure, and its members are taking the audience with them.
STREB, an action-inspired group that combines dance, acrobatics and theater, is the latest show in Carolina Performing Arts’ season, appearing both tonight and tomorrow. The Brooklyn-based company will use large amounts of machinery to move walls, rotate the floor and send its performers flying.
Elizabeth Streb, the company’s founder and self-titled “action architect,” is using this excitement to tell the story of action.
“I currently believe that if you’re not upping the ante in terms of the force that’s happening on that stage, the audience will never feel the experience of action,” she said.
“Our goal is for the audience to feel that they’ve had as much of a physical experience as my dancers have had.”
Streb said she grew up with a passion for high-impact sports, and also began dancing while in college at the State University of New York Brockport.
After graduation, Streb began dancing and performing solo on the streets of New York City in 1974. In 1981, she had her first duet show with late dancer Michael Schwartz. The company grew from there.
Now, the nine-person company pilots an adventure for hundreds of people night after night. The group has also performed on Nickelodeon and MTV.
Tonight’s CPA show will be 12 or 13 pieces long, but Streb said it will go by in a flash. The name of the show, “FORCES!,” gives way to the high-energy, high-speed nature of the production.
Fabio Tavares, associate artistic director of the company, said the show will have a physical focus for the audience as well as the performers.
“You’re not going to leave the theater in your head,” he said.
“You’re going to leave the theater in your muscles, in your guts, in your bones.”
This is exactly CPA’s intent in drawing audiences to Memorial Hall for the event. STREB visited UNC for CPA’s 2009-2010 season and was a huge success.
“They’re exciting, people love them and they’re different from a lot of the dance performances we program. We thought it would be a great opportunity to bring them back,” said Joe Florence, CPA’s marketing manager.
“I want people to leave our hall feeling like number one — It’s something they can’t see anywhere else in the region, and I just want them to have a great time. There are gasps in the audience when STREB performs because these performers fall (from) three stories (high).”
When the show is over, the performers will line the stage, ready for a relatively calmer interaction with the audience. It’s a time for audience members to talk to the performers, ask questions and share their excitement. After both shows there will also be a 15-minute discussion with Streb in the auditorium of Memorial Hall.
The audiences in Memorial Hall this week are in for a wild ride, and STREB wants them to share their experience during the show. The “Please silence your cellphones” speech preceding each show in Memorial Hall is irrelevant for STREB. The company encourages pictures, videos and Twitter to share the experience.
“We shout out to the audience to be as wild as we are,” Streb said.
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