Burn To Fly

Burn To Fly
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Burn To Fly

Elizabeth Streb è una coreografa e performer americana, nota per i suoi spettacoli in cui i ballerini fanno cose temerarie: come saltare da grandi altezze, tuffarsi contro lastre di vetro o pareti, appendersi a dei fili testa in giù e urlare. I ballerini nei loro pericolosi esercizi utilizzano cuscini, imbracature e protezioni varie, ma questo qualche volta non li salva da piccoli incidenti. Nella filosofia di Elizabeth Streb la capacità di assumersi il rischio di farsi male, e la volontà di raggiungere i propri limiti fisici, sono la premessa necessaria a qualsiasi traguardo umano: ‘Devi rischiare di cadere se vuoi volare’.
In questo documentario di Caterina Gund, la coreografa Elisabetta Streb si racconta, partendo dall’infanzia e dagli anni del college: avrebbe voluto iscriversi al dipartimento di educazione fisica, ma temeva per questo di essere etichettata come lesbica, e così decise di diplomarsi in danza. Ora Elisabetta Streb è una lesbica convinta e nelle sue coreografie, create per la sua compagnia, la STREB Extreme Action Company, è sempre presente il suo interesse per l’educazione fisica.
‘Born to Fly’ ci mostra immagini di repertorio tratte da spettacoli della STREB Extreme Action Company nel corso di oltre trent’anni di attività, oltre a interviste e riprese di vita comune tra Elizabeth Streb, la sua compagna Laura e i loro collaboratori, girate durante tutto l’anno che ha preceduto la loro più importante performance pubblica, sulla ruota panoramica di Londra, la London Eye, nel 2012, in occasione delle Olimpiadi della Cultura. (R. Mariella)



trailer: Burn To Fly


Propelled by Elizabeth Streb’s edict that “anything too safe is not action,” the STREB company challenges the assumptions of art, injury, gender, aging, and human possibility. Revealing the passions behind the STREB dancers’ bruises and broken noses, BORN TO FLY: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity inspires audiences hungry for a fiercer existence in the world.


Elizabeth Streb has spent much of her life exploring the world of dance, but in a drastically different way than anybody may expect. In a cross between being a daredevil and modern dance, Streb has created the STREB Extreme Action Company. These performers work with metal beams, spring pads, wires, and their severely bruised bodies to create something viewers have never seen before. Many of their performances focus on the sounds they can make by slamming their bodies into the ground, or even diving through a pane of glass. It’s extreme, but it’s been a life long dream for Streb, and the documentary follows her troupe to a performance in London before the Olympics that defies explanation, and pushes the boundaries of sanity.
Many films looking at dance wind up appealing only to those who have an interest in the art. This is one of the most immediate differences between those films, and Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity. The performers are more daredevil than dancer, and the shows are more performance art than quiet evening at the ballet. The performers are graceful, but in a less structured way. They spin, swing, jump, and dodge numerous dangerous objects to bring Streb’s visions to life. These visions almost seem like insanity at first, as viewers get to peek into the diagrams that make up Streb’s choreography. Scribbles and swirls matched with measurements and directional arrows are the beginning of what turns out to be something that is incredibly beautiful and slightly frightening.
Like watching Evil Knievel, somebody who inspired Streb, you’ll spend half the time holding your breath and hoping that nobody gets hurt. A spinning metal beam hung from the ceiling is an obstacle that dancers roll under and run around, barely missing them as it swings by. It seems like insanity, but the performers are drawn to the danger. They speak of injuries and close calls, but also of the passion and energy it takes to do the work. You can tell their madly in love with this art, as their faces light up the more they speak of it. Even those who have had to give up the performing still remember it fondly.
It all leads up to some of the most outrageous feats the troupe has every performed. The leap from the Millennium Bridge in London, swinging from bungee cords while spinning through the air. It’s nerve-wracking to watch, but is nothing compared to their final act; scaling the London Eye and climbing up and down the various beams it’s made from.
Is Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity opening weekend worthy?
Those with an interest in dance will enjoy witnessing the graceful movements of the human body, but everybody else can look forward to the daredevil actions of the dance troupe. This isn’t like any other dance film you’ve seen, and it’s one that you shouldn’t miss out on. (William Brownridge, Thatfs.ca)

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