STREB Extreme Action: Slam Show 8
This is by no means a polished act. There are breaks between the "Action Events" to move the audience around. One of the longest—and, in fact, potentially coolest—events is performed by two apprentices, and they can't really do it. There are kids tossing around popcorn and selling raffle tickets during the show. Oh, and just because you bought a ticket? Don't arrive assuming you're getting a seat.
If you want slick, wait for the Golden Dragon Acrobats. But if you're looking for grassroots, often creative, extremely family-friendly fun, then Elizabeth Streb's Slam Show 8, located in what appears to be an old garage on North 1st St. in Williamsburg, is just the thing. Scoboco was in attendance on Saturday night, and though we were all a little put off at first by the amateur atmosphere, there were definitely enough exclamatory moments during the 90-minute show that we walked away happy.
The Streb trademark seems to be this: her dancers hurtle their bodies around—through the air, into walls, flat onto the floor—with exhilarating abandon. This is particulary entertaining to watch when it's used in ways you've never seen before. My favorite Action Events were Ricochet, in which the dancers flung and smooshed themselves into a large piece of plexiglass facing the audience; Moon, a clever piece which had the company act out "impossible" stunts while lying/writhing/pushing themselves across the floor, and their images were projected onto a huge vertical screen, creating the illusion of low-gravity acrobatics; and Tip, for which the dancers climbed around and flew across a giant half-circle which was going full-throttle back and forth, back and forth not two feet from crushing about 25 children in the front row.
Action architect and choreographer Streb has become something of a Williamsburg institution, with popular children's and adult classes at the Slam facility, and several Streb dancers were flinging themselves into a foot or so of water during Agora and Agora 2 last September at the nearby McCarren pool. Maybe it was just because it was opening weekend—there are Slam Show 8 performances Friday, Saturday and Sunday through December 17—but on Saturday night they sold at least twice as many tickets as there were chairs, so get there by 6:30 when the outside doors open to ensure you're not standing in the back. Actually, if you really want the best view, go up front on floor with the kids. Just watch your fingers.