"Part of the deal is, you walk into the room and you agree to get hurt. You might get a little hurt."
That’s the unapologetic attitude extreme choreographer Elizabeth Streb takes with her acrobat performers. Streb doesn’t want to see anyone hurt, of course, but the gravity-defying stunts and stage productions she creates are so designed to push the physical limits of the body that injury is an inevitability.
Documentarian Catherine Gund profiles this unique choreographer in Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs Gravity. In a SWSX interview with Women and Hollywood, Gund called Streb "a powerhouse, a searching, restless, angsty, and brilliant woman."
Though Streb’s work may lead to the occasional injury, it isn’t about frailty at all, but about strength. One of her acrobats says, "I believed I can do anything… it’s like being invincible." That performer was later injured, but it still speaks to Streb’s vision that, when her collaborators are in the air, they’re accomplishing feats no one else on the planet can match.
Born to Fly will be screened during September 10-16 at NYC’s Film Forum and officially released this fall or winter.