BLACKSBURG (WSLS 10) — Third graders at Margaret Beeks Elementary in Blacksburg go beyond traditional dance and take part in a workshop combining dance aesthetics and stunts.
STREB, a New York based performance group created by choreographer Elizabeth Streb, who is also known as the “Evel Knievel of Dance”, engaged a group a 20 students in an hour long workshop Thursday.
The students were chosen through a lottery drawing.
Students were excited to take part in the activity, which integrates music and arts through movement, as their classmates cheered from the sidelines.
The “KID ACTION” workshop helps children explore the impact, velocity, and defiance of gravity through a combination of physical conditioning, daredevil stunts, acrobatics, and aerial arts. Organizers say it’s a hands-on way to teach listening skills, risk and trust.
Beeks music specialist Kaye Gilliam jumped at the opportunity to get STREB at Beeks during its tour in Blacksburg.
“We are very pleased that students from Beeks will be observing and working with STREB because STREB is interested in getting students excited about and involved in creative movement. We are fortunate that our students have this opportunity free of charge,” she said.
STREB said it’s “dedicated to bringing the audience and community into the artistic process by breaking down barriers to participation and access with new approaches to creation, education and presentation.”
Performers say the workshops with children are just as rewarding for them as it is for the kids.
“This curiosity and this enthusiasm for movement. Not only movement that is disciplined and structured but something that kind of breaks out of your normal cliché mold of what dance is an one action is,” said STREB artist Cassandre Joseph. “It’s a two-way street and I feel like what we hope the kids get out of it is exactly what they give us. So we want to inspire and we want to kind of push the envelope and open up ways of thinking about movement.”
Students will attend a matinee performance by STREB Friday at the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech.
The general public can attend STREB’s “Forces” performance at the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Moss Arts Center’s Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall Friday at 7:30 pm.
Tickets can be purchased online or in the box office.