Elizabeth Streb was born Elizabeth Green. She was adopted by the Streb family at the age of two, her arm in a cast.
The Streb family lived in a working class neighborhood in upstate New York. Streb’s father was a bricklayer. She came to admire his strong body and the determination with which he worked. She thought perhaps if she pushed herself far enough, she could learn to be unbreakable.
Elizabeth Streb has carried that drive throughout her life, always pushing her physical and mental limits, and those of her STREB Extreme Action Company.
The feature-length documentary “Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity” pushes the boundaries between action and art, daring us to join Streb and her dancers in pursuit of human flight.
Sometimes called the Evel Knievel of dance, she is the pioneer of a movement form called “POPACTION,” which is couched in the exploration of human potential – both physical and emotional. Through her work, she expands our notions of movement; explores the intersections of dance, performance, and stunt-work; and provokes ideas about how fear might enhance our experiences.
Still, Streb’s work is not only about bodies and adrenaline. She also uses choreography to demonstrate the power and complexities of age, gender, class and race both for her dancers and her audiences. BORN TO FLY wrestles with these complexities in order to propagate confidence and bravery among the diverse communities that can be inspired by Streb’s philosophy and her punch.
Elizabeth Streb has been pushing the boundaries of action and art for over 40 years. “Born to Fly” layers archival footage, drawings and photographs of Elizabeth and the STREB company from across the years, along with stock footage, graphics, and contemporary performance footage, which gives the film a dynamic and mesmerizing texture.
Directed and produced by Catherine Gund, an Emmy-nominated producer, director, writer and organizer. Her media work focuses on arts and culture, HIV/AIDS and reproductive health, the environment and other social justice issues. Her films have screened around the world in festivals, theaters, museums and schools; on PBS, Discovery’s “Planet Green,” and the Sundance Channel. Gund’s most recent project, “What’s On Your Plate?,” is a critically-acclaimed, multi-media project about kids and food politics, featuring a documentary, book and curriculum.