In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • The Methodology for Choreographing Extreme Action
  • Elizabeth Streb (bio)

I am an extreme action specialist who flies, crash-lands, and invents hardware to get higher, faster, sooner, harder. As an Action and Hardware Architect, I collaborate with architects, engineers, and designers to create hardware that will allow members of my company, STREB EXTREME ACTION, to push the boundaries of movement. These drawings represent five events or dances of STREB all performed with specialized hardware. For each dance I choreograph, there are tens and tens of pages of these templates that fill many books. All of my drawings are done on 8½ x 11 in. paper in pen and colored markers. These drawings represent my initial ideas and develop as the hardware is built and movement is created. I am continuously re-working, re-developing, and re-choreographing my pieces in order to push the limits of both the hardware and dancers. Up to five years might lapse between my initial drawings and the premiere of the piece. [End Page 54]


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Human Fountain. My original idea for this dance was to mimic the Las Vegas Bellagio fountains with human bodies instead of water. I designed a basic scaffold structure that measured five feet deep by thirty feet high with a width of thirty feet. The flight choreography was invented during the nearly two years we built this event leading up to a performance at the World Trade Center outside the Wintergarden, in 2010, and to the Park Avenue Armory KISS THE WATER performances in December of 2011, at the London Olympics in 2012, and then finally at the Delacorte Theater at the tenth anniversary of the Fall for Dance festival in NYC. There were thirty-three dancers in Human Fountain. The six drawings add up to one minute of choreography for this fifteen-minute piece.

All images courtesy the artist.

[End Page 55]


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The Human Eye/LERU (London Eye Rehearsal Unit). The Human Eye was performed at 10:30 p.m., July 12, on the London Eye during the 2012 Cultural Olympiad within the London Olympics. The London Eye had thirty-two river-side spokes, with a radius of about two hundred feet and a diameter of about four hundred and sixty-five feet. Prior to being attached to their "spoke," all thirty-two dancers climbed the two-hundred and twenty-five steps up the cantilever arm, then crawled through the hub and climbed up another ladder past me to be hooked onto their spoke as the wheel was turning. To achieve a full revolution on the London Eye took twenty minutes. The entire dance of Human Eye took forty minutes or two full revolutions.

All images courtesy the artist.

[End Page 56]


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Ascension/Silver. The set is a twenty-one-foot spinning ladder braced by a triangular truss structure that spans twelve feet from upstage to downstage. The structure weathers an inordinate amount of g-force as it spins in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction (these forces are produced by the ten dancers and their particular actions at a specific time). This piece defies all of one's suspicions about the simple idea of what happens when a person climbs a ladder that has an axis at its center point. Within each of these four rectangular plates (A, B, C, D) I am using stick figures to represent the bodies that are climbing and spinning around and jumping or flying off. Often the words on these drawings define the "when" of the actions; sometimes the words describe the question I am wondering about.

All images courtesy the artist.

[End Page 57]


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Air. The structure in the drawing defines, with the inner rectangle, the exact size and power of an Olympic Air. The edges are wooden runways, and the two smaller rectangles at the top edge of the Air are raised platforms that the dancers jump off of and exit flying back up onto. I've choreographed a number of Air dances from 1994 to now. We think of all of our machines...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1537-9477
Print ISSN
1520-281X
Pages
pp. 54-59
Launched on MUSE
2018-05-12
Open Access
No
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