Kinetic energy of "Streb: Forces" invigorates Benedum
Loud cheering and applause broke out repeatedly Friday night at the Benedum Theater when Pittsburgh Dance Council opened its season by presenting “Streb: Forces.”
The language of Elizabeth Streb's “extreme action” ensemble is closer to stunt work and gymnastics than dance. She wields that physicality with a keen sense of theatricality combined with a conceptual clarity that enjoys the physics of movement.
The show's spirit was established by DJ MC Zaire Baptiste's introduction. He shouted into a microphone with the volume jacked up that the audience should ignore the usual warning that recording and photography were forbidden, and encouraged everyone to make a lot of noise.
Streb's method in the dozen sections of “Forces” is to concentrate on the essentials of one kind of movement. Her nine “action engineers” began with “Shake,” responding with increasing intensity to the loud vibrations coming from the sound system.
“Impact” played off a large clear plastic sheet attached to a high metal frame. The performers threw themselves at the sheet or kicked off it, each impact marked by video game-type sound effects provided by the DJ. Elaborations that included a transfer-of-energy bit, where the plastic sheet was kicked from one side and a performer on the other side of the sheet recoiled sharply.
The most frequently employed move throughout the evening was leaping to a flat fall, arms and legs extended, on a pad on the stage floor. Sometimes the performers leaped on top of each other.
Streb spoke on video about her ideas before many of the pieces, including the effect of falling 30 feet, or even higher, from the 11th floor of a building. This was a prelude to leaps from increasing height, up to one from 25 or 30 feet. Yes, there were gasps from members of the audience.
Each half of the show closed with machines that generated strong centrifugal force. “Artificial Gravity” was performed on a large circular spinning platform that could move independently from a smaller circle at its center. Sometimes the circles moved in opposite directions, even at high speed.
“Invisible Forces” was performed on a device with a circular section on one side of its axis and balancing frames on the other side. Both pieces featured inventive elaborations.
The performers were true daredevils. The feeling of risk was overwhelmed by adrenaline and, above all, a sense of having fun.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Heyward-Bey looks to make impact on special teams with Steelers
- Elsie Hillman, philanthropist and one-time GOP powerhouse, dies at 89
- Starkey: Steelers still knockin’ on Canton’s door
- Pirates notebook: Liriano shrugs off rain-ruined start
- Bethel Park SB approves contracts for secretaries, paraprofessionals
- West Virginia football pair Gibson, Howard prepared to step up
- Steelers defensive end Tuitt shifts into high gear
- Police charge man with homicide for deaths of former girlfriend, her grandmother in East Hills
- No rest for ex-Kittanning wrestler Nolf
- Steelers notebook: Spaeth on baby watch
- Catching on: Jeannette grad Pryor making progress with transition to receiver