The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
By Tom Sarago, DANCECleveland
This past Saturday, The University of Akron’s Dance and Theatre program collaborated with Streb; a Brooklyn NY based company known for their extreme-action infused performances to pull off one of the coolest collaborations in recent memory. The two joined forces and began planting the seed for collaboration back in May of 2012, when DANCECleveland’s Executive Director, Pamela Young matched the two organizations up. “I felt a bit like a match maker” said Young. “We (DANCECleveland) have had a tremendous experience collaborating with the University of Akron and have presented Streb in the past. Young added, “based on an informal chat I had with the company, I knew they wanted to collaborate nationally with an acclaimed dance program so it was a logical pairing.” Subsequently, Streb received funding from The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation which greatly assisted in making entire event possible.
UA dance instructor Kara Stewart, along with twenty UA Dance and Theatre department students began collaborating with visiting members of Streb to learn the companies “pop-action” techniques and traveled to Streb’s NY headquarters last month to work with the company and their choreographer and founder, Elizabeth Streb. The hard work paid off as the performance was everything that Streb was known for; gravity-defying, body-slamming, daredevil performance meshed with technology-infused elements; the last which went a long way in making the performance unique as interactive video technology helped connect audiences in Akron as well as New York to the performance. The performance opened up with cast members of Streb performing work entitled “Forces” on its Brooklyn site. Then the action “switched” over to Akron’s sold out Daum Theatre where the company, with the assistance of UA dance program students, performed “Flippy Zippys” a knowing ode to the UA mascot. Audiences at both locations were able to view both works due to the simulcast technology that was implemented by the University.
The performance provided a life-long memory for the students and provided them with the experience of a lifetime… and pushed their limits physically!