New STREB Show: Forces the Movical Combines Dance, Theater, and Physics

"Elizabeth Streb is known as the Evil Knievel of the dance world. Her style of dance includes stunts that seem culled from Hollywood, Cirque de Soleil, or the skate park. The choreographer is known for her signature “pop” style, where dancers bounce and rebound off surfaces like rubberized cartoon characters, and for her signature mohawk.

Her company, STREB, regularly incorporates huge structures, and wire harnesses, to allow the dancers to fly, fall, climb, and explore the interaction of their bodies with surfaces. 

Streb is also the first choreographer to be awarded a McArthur Foundation “genius” grant, and recently the company performed at the London Olympic opening ceremony.

This month, STREB is performing a new show in New York, “Forces: The Movical” as part of Streb’s ongoing “investigation of action.” “Forces” was created in collaboration with theatre technicians to, “create a show based on all the questions STREB has historically asked; questions that are Newtonian in nature and that veer into quantum mechanical impossible zones.” Dancers defy gravity, utilize momentum, and use counter forces. In other words, they dive from platforms, swing bowling balls, and fall into one another. 

The concept of combining theater, dance, and physics is thoughtful and existential, but the execution is pure mass entertainment. This is a show that dance-lovers and their less enthusiastic partners can both enjoy. Her pieces often have a cheesy will.i.am type M.C., but don't be put off; it’s only for the safety of the dancers. 

Streb does her thing — the first massive injection of newness into the dance world since Alivin Ailey, Isadora Duncan, and Merce Cunningham birthed modern — and we get to enjoy it.