Since 1985, New York-based choreographer Elizabeth Streb has displayed a penchant for extremely physical, adventurous, and challenging physical movement in her work. “Elizabeth Streb’s stubborn investigation of Action,” her website explains, “[ranges] from every day movements to the Extreme Action of sports, the circus and thrill rides; the impulse to action that is in our souls.” As part of the Whitney on Site: New Commissions Downtown program that is introducing the city to the future home of the museum, the MacArthur Genius has created ASCENSION, a free outdoor public performance piece constructed around a twenty-one-foot moving ladder. “There is a sense of beauty about a ladder, a device that has existed for centuries to assist us when the need to go higher arises,” Streb explains about the piece for nine dancers. “The climb, the ever revolving Sisyphean ascent to the unreachable top of the ladder, disallows arrival and the accomplishment of the quotidian function, to get somewhere.” ASCENSION, which is part of Streb’s work-in-progress KISS THE AIR!, comprising Essential Acts that incorporate equipment (and will be presented in December at the Park Ave. Armory), will be performed by the Streb Extreme Action Company, with music by master percussionist David Van Tieghem, on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 3:00 and 5:00 in Gansevoort Plaza.
Update: Unfortunately, the rain forced Elizabeth Streb to cancel the 5:00 performance of ASCENSION on July 8, but she’s added another show on Saturday, July 9, so now the eleven-minute production will go on at 3:00, 4:00, and 5:00. Streb Extreme Action Company will also be outside at World Financial Center Plaza on July 14 (6:00), 15 (12 noon & 6:00), and 16 (2:00, 4:00, and 6:00) presenting Human Fountain as part of the River to River series Extraordinary Moves, which also includes Strange Fruit’s The Three Belles and Third Rail Projects’ Looking Glass.