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Release: March 19, 1999

(NOTE TO EDITORS: Address STREB advance interview requests to International Production Associates at 212-925-2100.)

Dance, gymnastics and physics collide ­ literally ­ in April 10 STREB performance at UI

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- STREB, the dance company in which choreography, gymnastics and physics reach critical mass, will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 10 in Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus.

The performance will conclude a five-day residency for choreographer Elizabeth Streb and her company. Members of the company will work each day with 15 students from Southeast Junior High in Iowa City to prepare "KidAction" for the Hancher performance.

Streb is part choreographer, part fitness coach, part engineer and part air-traffic controller. Her dancers often perform in, over, around and up against challenging structures, and they often use harnesses, pulleys and other mechanical devices to make gravity-defying movements possible.

STREB had been described as a challenge to the faint-hearted: "Take the most dangerous event you've ever witnessed, double the speed, cut the distance in half, multiply by four -- and then don't look away. Flying, bouncing and crashing off surfaces like giant atomic particles in a supercollider, the dancers of STREB are catapulting audiences into a new century of dance."

Streb calls her company simply "a platform for the investigation of movement." Her works have titles including "Wall/Line," "Bounce," "Freeflight," "Fly" and "Up." One piece uses a
200-pound lever and 400-pound counterweights to create careening flight. In another the dancers cascade from a trampoline to create "a continual spray of bodies passing one another." And another places the dancers on a continuously moving platform that requires both precision and anticipation.

Dance critic Clive Barnes wrote, "It's not like choreography you have ever seen before . . . It's all high-impact stuff -- people throwing themselves against walls with bone-crushing abandon, hurtling down ropes and bouncing on trampolines . . . with oohs and aahs from the audience, and an effect at its best rather like a fireworks display."

"I feel in my own body the riskiness," Deborah Jowitt wrote in the Village Voice. "If you're not one of those wincing, you'll see in the work of Streb and her courageous dancers a redemptive vision of human daring and ingenuity." And Harry Weber wrote in the Riverfront Times of St. Louis, "Perhaps it's a sort of quintessential slam dancing; perhaps it's dance in evolution. Perhaps it's not even dance at all. Whatever it is, however, it is absolutely unique and thrilling beyond words."

Consistent with STREB's unusual performances, the company has popped up in some locations where audiences don't expect to see a dance company -- not only at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the Joyce Theater in New York, but also in the Minneapolis Metrodome between games of a Twins-Yankees doubleheader, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, on the beach in Miami, on the boardwalk at Coney Island, and at the Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage.

Her "KidAction" programs investigate the basic physics of movement and the construction of choreography from these movements. The children begin with movements that are natural for them, and discover techniques for performing these movements in a variety of situations and against different surfaces. "KidAction" always culminates in the children's participation in the STREB performance.

Streb has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships for her unique work, including National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim fellowships, a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" and a New York "Bessie" Award.

The STREB residency and performance are supported by the Heartland Arts Fund. University of Iowa Men's Intercollegiate Athletics is the corporate sponsor of the performance through the University of Iowa Foundation.

Tickets for the April 10 performance are $26, $23 and $20. UI students and senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount, with Zone 3 tickets available to UI students for $10. Tickets for audience member 17 and younger are half price.

Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction.

People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.