Crazy stunts highlight the end of Eccles’ 2006 season
Before Streb took the stage, Park City Performing Arts Foundation director Teri Orr introduced the group and said, "It will be the most unusual show you will ever see."
Unusual was an accurate word.
Streb was the final show of a holiday season that included Wynonna for the Park City Performing Arts Foundation.
The first action event performed by Streb was "Orbit." Two dancers connected to a harness, spun around a pole similar to the game tether ball. Appearing weightless, they hovered horizontally and walked up and down the pole in a dance with each other. The music and movements at times were rhythmic and peaceful.
The peaceful cadenced motions were broken abruptly by the second act called "Clash." The action stars of Streb, including members from Salt Lake, Idaho and Wyoming, slammed themselves into each other. The floor received a beating from kamikaze Streb members as they lunged in the air, flipped, twisted and landed awkwardly on their knees, back and stomach.
Orr told a packed Eccles’ Center audience to make as much noise as possible. Throughout the show, voices could be herd saying, "cool" or "I’m scared" during tense moments when dancers appeared to be in life-threatening situations. Some yelled and cheered on the dare devils.
Orr warned the audience not to try any Streb actions. The members of Streb include gymnasts, divers, dancers and a trapeze artist from a circus in Mexico.
"These are trained professionals who have been abusing their bodies for years to get them to this degree of elasticity and, I suspect, numbness," Orr said.
The movements at times were comical. It almost seemed like it was kids playing with toys given to them by their physicist father while at any moment the mother might come out and yell at them saying, "Someone’s going to get hurt. Quit playing with that or you’ll get your eye poked out.
The act "Ripple" featured two dancers tied to a rope. They ran around throwing the other person of their feet. One person would jump in the air while the other would sprint in the opposite direction, causing them to slam to the floor. It was impressive how the joints of the dancers actually held together.
Some of the acts seemed like a dream world where the laws of physics and gravity didn’t apply.
"Gauntlet" featured all the dancers weaving, jumping, flipping and ducking from swinging cinderblocks. The audience ooed and awed as the dancers’ faces barely missed a trip to the plastic surgeon.
The final act called "Fly" involved a large hamster wheel, approximately 20-feet in height. Dancers would create momentum by running on the inside of the wheel. And other action members jumped on the spinning wheel, climbed all over it like monkeys and let the momentum spring them off the structure like sling.
Orr brought the group here after seeing them live in New York City five years ago.
"It really did take my breath away," she said.
The obstacle of bringing them to Park City was cash. More than $50,000 was needed. Donations by members were made to bring them here.
"It took a village to make this happen," Orr said while introducing them to the audience.
Streb is used to performing stunts at sea-level. They took precautions for the high altitude by bringing extra oxygen tanks.
"We’ve been running around crazy for an hour-and-a-half," said Terry Dean Bartlett, associate artistic director and performer for Streb. "I used about three of the tanks through the show."
After the show, the members bowed then talked to the audience. Bartlett conducted a short lesson in dance for the audience. Spectators learned how to hold stances and turn correctly. After, Streb invited anyone to come and visit with them. One spectator challenged Streb dancer Christine Chen to a handstand. The spectator held his own but couldn’t sustain it as long as Chen.
Orr was proud to feature Streb as the last performance of the year. The PCPAF was looking for a show that would benefit people of all ages and offer something "special" for visitors.
"This has been a year of feeling like the universe is defying the laws of physics and we can think of no better way to ring in a brand new year than with this thrilling act," Orr said.
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