Elizabeth STREB refers to herself as an “Action Architect” a term that makes the body shift in response. My six year old, like many of the thousands of people in Pioneer Courthouse Square gathered in celebration of art, TBA and the truly inimitable Kristy Edmunds, wiggled his body and stared with wide eyes as a woman flung, glided, and spun among her action companions—all this while strapped to a metal girder straight out of a dream in which the Teen Titans and George Balanchine build a skyscraper and conquer the world. A conversation ensued as to whether the dancers seemed more like astronauts, divers, or bicyclists. “Are they men or women?” my son wondered. “Neither! Both!” we decided.
What was so beautifully peculiar and joyous to this observer—in addition to the exquisite control of the dancers’ bodies colliding and passing through space—occurred as the troupe responded to each other’s nuances, moving from one action to another: the slap and turn of a body on a mat; a performer’s smile upon emerging from a flip; the barely audible (or loud!) vocalized directions; the side-long glances cast while tracking movements—taunting catastrophe.
And these tiny, transitional gestures echoed the smiles, shifting bodies, and meandering paths of the audience. They moved, we moved; they smiled, we smiled.
What a perfect expression of the collaboration, risk taking, and grace that grew PICA into the organization that it is now, and that will continue to shape it into the future.
Stephanie Snyder
Cooley Art Gallery, Reed College