STREB, a dance troupe renowned for their extraordinary displays of daredevilry in unexpected places, brought their wizardry to the University of Nebraska. But they didn’t just come to perform. They came to engage students in a hands-on creation experience. The group from UNL included more than dancers; it included architectural students who helped design amazing staging for the Lied Center. The computer/engineering students designed flying robots that performed during the dance.
Named after the founder, Elizabeth Streb, the dance troupe has performed globally, including promotions for the London Olympics, staged around London, where dancers descended from ropes off bridges and buildings. “STREB is one of the most unique dance companies in the industry today,” said Bill Stephan, Executive Director of the Lied Center. “The Lied Center and the University of Nebraska make every effort to connect our students with the many artistic masters that visit Lincoln. We were thrilled that STREB was able to devote so much time to our students.”
Fabio Tavares da Silva, the Associate Artistic Director of STREB, and Bill Stephan talked about the collaboration and the experience the diverse group of UNL students had.
What were your overall impressions of the entire STREB collaboration with architecture, dance and computer/engineering students and how it turned out? Did you feel it was a big success?
Stephan: I think that the collaboration far exceeded anyone’s expectations. The students, professionals and everyone else involved will be forever changed. The final product was so unique and I think really challenged conventional perceptions on the intersection between technology and the arts.
Da Silva: We at STREB were extremely pleased and impressed with all the hard work those students put into their projects. And how it all come together in the end. It was neat to watch!
Why are such collaborations with students important to the mission of STREB?
Da Silva: Elizabeth’s dream is to disseminate POPACTION globally. Not just in the dance and movement field but also in the engineering, architecture, math, physics, and robotics worlds as well. STREB is a clash of all of those worlds. She dreams of using action to bring people together and make them stronger movers and thinkers.
What was the reaction of Elizabeth Streb and the other dancers to the work they saw from UNL students?
Stephan: Elizabeth and the Extreme Action Heroes were very inspired by the students they worked with here on the UNL campus. STREB and UNL both share a deep passion for collaboration and Elizabeth remarked that it would be very difficult to go to the next town after visiting the Lied Center and having this experience. She was overwhelmed by the depth of involvement and interest among UNL students and their commitment to the project.
STREB has participated in residencies on other college campuses in the past but she said the level of participation and engagement among UNL students was very unique. The interdisciplinary aspect is something that many other college campuses are attempting to do, but we really achieved it here at the Lied Center.
Da Silva: I can easily see those flying robots in our next show!
Why are these kind of special interactions between Lied artists and UNL students important to you and to the Lied Center?
Stephan: Education is central to the Lied Center’s mission. We are so proud to be a part of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and take our responsibility to provide enriching educational experiences for the students here on campus very seriously. Not to mention the incredible support from the Hixson Lied College and their commitment to and investment in bringing artists to our students.
We are lucky to have some of the greatest artistic minds of our time walking through our doors every day. It is important that we provide the next generation of great thinkers an opportunity to work one-on-one with the masters in their field. We approach every Lied Center artist about taking time to engage with students while they are in Lincoln.