STREB Action Heroes Navigate Zoom Conundrum

Circus News

How STREB’s Action Heroes Navigate the Zoom Conundrum

The question that comes to mind is, how have you been surviving? This is not a hyperbole as the world literally negotiates a deadly virus. It is not a distortion when business and organizations are permanently closing. This article chronicles how Brooklyn-based STREB EXTREME ACTION company has survived the past few months. The company members are literally called Action Heroes. Who better to give some insight as to how to survive?
To get a full sense of how the company has transitioned to the remote and virtual, I interviewed Elizabeth Streb (Founder and Artistic Director), Christine Chen (Executive Director) and Cassandre Joseph (Associate Artistic Director). The conversations proved that the company’s trademark tenacity, curiosity and care for each other and their community has not diluted as they rehearse, perform and teach via Zoom.  The company has gained world fame for Streb’s unique philosophies about the body, space, time and force. “I invent things: equipment and actions,” Streb says. “But I really pose questions more than I tell them [the company] what to do. The questions are inherent in the equipment. We have a piece of equipment manipulate you, or you enter its force field in a way to cause things to happen that must happen. It’s a discovery process. I always think of myself as an explorer.” Underlying the explorati...
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Madeline Hoak

Madeline Hoak is an artist and academic who creates with, through, and about circus. She is a Writer for CircusTalk, Adjunct Professor of Aerial Arts and American Circus History at Pace University, Editor and Curatorial Director of TELEPHONE: an international arts game, and curator and director of Cirkus Moxie, a weekly contemporary circus show at Brooklyn Art Haus. Madeline has performed, coached, produced, and choreographed at elite regional and international venues. Her background in dance and physical theater is infiltrated into her coaching and creation style. She is passionate about providing her students holistic circus education that includes physical, historical, theoretical resources. Madeline initiated the Aerial Acrobatics program at her alma mater, Muhlenberg College, where she taught from 2012-2017. She is also a regular contributor to Cirkus Syd's Circus Thinkers international reading group. Her circus research has been supported by Pace, NYU, and Concordia University. Recent publications include "Teaching the Mind-Body: Integrating Knowledges through Circus Arts'' (with Alisan Funk, Dan Berkley), a chapter in Art as an Agent for Social Change, "expanding in(finite) between," a multimedia essay in Circus Thinks: Reflections, 2020, and "Digital Dance & TELEPHONE: A Unique Spectator Experience." Madeline has presented academic papers at numerous conferences including Circus and its Others (UC Davis), International Federation for Theatre Research (University of Reykjavík), the Popular Culture Association, Gallatin (NYU), and McGill University. Madeline earned an MA from Gallatin, New York University’s School of Independent Study, where she designed a Circus Studies curriculum with a focus on spectatorship.