Williamsburg, Brooklyn is far too cool for mere “dance” classes.
Ditto for your standard gym or acrobatics lessons.
Enter Streb Lab For Action Mechanics aka SLAM aka STREB aka a pretty damn awesome dance/acrobatics/trapeze spot for athletic folks of all ages. It’s the invention of Elizabeth Streb, a female Lou Reed look-alike who in fact embodies quite a bit of that same edgy NYC art-punk ethos. Unlike Lou, however, she has taken an industrial warehouse space by Billburg’s waterfront and created a hip scene centered on her forward thinking, avante-garde dance principles.
So what exactly happens at STREB?
Humans fly through the air from rocket-propelled springboards, flip over, under and around a perilously spinning ladder mounted on a ferris wheel-like axle, hurl themselves at breakneck speeds into clear slabs of plastic just inches from your face and leap again and again off 30, 40, and 50 foot high precipices, smacking satisfyingly onto glacier-thick mats. These are just some of the many scenes one can witness at one of their joyous and high-energy public performances.
It’s all done to spooky, funky audio and visuals, adding up to a kind of spectacle you haven’t quite seen before, one that values fun and experimentation as much as it does physical rigor and activity.
Ms. Streb’s open-minded approach doesn’t stop with the actual dance routine’s either. Her talk of creating a new “cultural paradigm” extends even to the companies most basic policies. For example, the space is never closed to the public and, aside from the infrequent paid shows, anyone can pop in to watch classes or rehearsals at any time during working hours.
The shows themselves are also pretty open-ended with plenty of whooping and hollering and general encouragement for the audience to have fun too. And the KIDACTION classes follow suit. SuperDuperKid has taken part on and off for years and just plain loves ’em. I’ve barely parked the SuperDuperDad-Mobile before he’s bolting from the back, shaking free his socks and sneakers to frolic with his friends on the giant mats laid out invitingly all over the space. His classes are every Thursday, and serve as a perfect avenue for him to let loose some post-school energy. Right as they end, the space starts filling with attractive young(ish) adults who take more advanced classes, each seemingly ready to shake off the stress accumulated from cubicles and offices throughout the day.
All rates and information are listed below as well as on the STREB website. At about $325 for 16 weekly hour-long sessions it’s pretty reasonable. The performances are also definitely worth catching, especially if you’ve never seen one before. It’s packed with energy, fun and plenty of visceral thrills, a true Brooklyn experience.
Official SuperDuperDad Yay or Nay Verdict: YAY!
Details: STREB is incredibly approachable in every way so feel free to simply pop in and check it out. You can ask an instructor questions to gauge the best class for yourself of your child.
Kid Class Info:
KID ACTION + KID FLY
KID ACTION reflects the high energy, fast-paced movement that kids experience all around them everyday, and this is why Elizabeth Streb’s work is of particular interest to young people, who are continually testing the limits of their physical universe. Based on the principles of POPACTION, young action engineers will be intrigued by the vigorous exploration of impact, velocity and the defiance of gravity through a combination of physical conditioning, daredevil stunts action, acrobatics and aerial arts.
KID FLY invites kids 5 and up to come develop their Flying Trapeze skills. All participants are evaluated individually, and are taught at their own pace by our trained instructors. For more experienced flyers, the ESPANA-STREB TRAPEZE ACADEMY allows you to work more intensively on specific tricks to master the ones you know, and learn the ones you dream of doing. Our team of instructors can help you achieve class goals by giving you tips and techniques to improve your form and personal style. The instructors have varied backgrounds but all are focused on safety and ensuring the students have a great experience.
Spring Class rates (now past, but give you a good idea.)
Each class has 16 sessions.
Baby Action & Kid Action: $325
Tuesday Advanced: $325
Friday Advanced: $424
Kid Company: $456
Kid Fly Team:$556
Drop-In’s: $11 per class with enrollment in any class or $21 per class for KidAction class and $26 for KidFly class for non-registered students.
A deposit of $150 is required to hold your child’s place.
10% discount on two or more classes per family.
For more information about classes, contact email@example.com or