Streb at SLAM (Streb Lab for Action Mechanics). Conceived by Elizabeth Streb. Performed by Streb Extreme Action. 1 hr 30 min. One intermission.
Sun Mar 22 2009
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>0/5
All dance involves physics, and Elizabeth Streb really knows how to work it. Known for her Pop Action technique ("pop" referring to what muscles do when your body slams against a surface), the choreographer and her troupe don't hide the fact that they're testing speed, space, gravity and energy as they perform precision-timed feats, such as dodging a swinging steel beam while "dancing" with it, or making a crash landing from a catapult. It's those kinds of gravity-defying moves that make Streb at SLAM shows so exhilarating, whether you're old enough to know about Newton or not.
The Lab—a cavernous dance studio and ad hoc performance space—is a great place for kids to watch a show. Children sit on gym mats and are invited to wander at will, and the audience is shuffled now and again to make way for the dancers. Of late, the company has upped the kid-friendly factor (one solo piece features a poorly rehearsed robot; another, flying toys) and stripped down its extravagances (no costumes, more floor work, less flourish). For a show that hinges on spectacle as much as it does on the physics of motion, this shift is a bit disappointing. But Streb still thrills, and some kids may be inspired to learn Pop Action themselves; a short demonstration by the company's preschool class shows the way.—Barbara Aria
Catapult! is playing at SLAM through May 17. Tickets: $20, children under 13 $10.