Posted by: Levi Hanes
I had the opportunity to attend the STREB workshop this morning. My fears of potential forced participation were alleviated as I stammered something about being with the PICA Press Corp. Thanks to PICA’s Eugenie I was ushered to the side of the mat just as Elizabeth Streb began her introduction. I have watched some dance rehersals while in college and have been to a few performances so although I move like a spasmodic on the dance floor I can appreciate what the participants’ experience. Streb’s teaching approach was relaxed, congratulatory, and encouraging with an emphasis on the dancer finding their own means to perform the actions. Some notes on the difference from other dance forms I have seen is the STREB’s emphasis on surprise. Rather than leading into a move Streb emphasized muscle tension and quick motions. The body was encouraged to move as full planes, face parallel with shoulders, hips, etc. Instead of the head turning towards the direction the body was to move or the arms swinging into motion, or a crouch to launch a jump, the motions had a taught, muscular snap of a spring set loose.
Talking to PICA volunteer Alexis after the session she pointed out that the impact of the moves took some getting used to. Imagine the body in positions of planes landing with impressive thumps on mats.
The STREB workshop was definitely aimed at participants who had previous dance experience or just a crap load of gumption (neither of which I have), but I felt I gathered a unique insight into tomorrow’s performance. Had I participated I think the experience would have been far richer. A tip for tomorrow: don’t blink. There are some seriously quick moves of near impossible feats and the STREB folks intend to give you no warning.
See you there.