How This STREB Dancer Pulls Off "Impossible" Stunts
When you’re performing with a whirling cinderblock or giant hamster wheel as your partner, there is no time for second-guessing your physical fitness. Fortunately, STREB EXTREME ACTION member Cassandre Joseph knows exactly what her body needs to stay safe, even when flying off 30-foot platforms.
What are the five habits that prepare her to tackle anything that director Elizabeth Streb might throw her way?
1. Taking Pop Action Classes
All company members take Pop Action technique class once a week to refine their skills and to continue chasing Streb’s “impossible moves,” or, achieving movement that looks and feels unachievable. “The whole idea is to erase transitions, so we work towards going faster and holding longer while maintaining the integrity of the work.”
2. Spinning Consistently
To preserve her cardio level and get a pre-rehearsal boost, Joseph faithfully attends an hour-long spin class four to five days a week at her local YMCA. “The shows are extremely hard no matter what. Even in the best shape it’s challenging,” says Joseph. “But consistent cycling makes it easier.”
3. Reciting Muhammad Ali Speeches
“I silently recite Muhammad Ali speeches before a show,” says Joseph, “using them as a mantra that runs over and over until there is no space in my head for anything else: no doubts, no fear. Ali had an extremely confident approach, he went for complete, 100-percent confidence instead of giving in to anxieties.”
4. Performing Post-Show Stretches
To address post-show tightness, Joseph follows an hour-long routine of static stretches (hips, quadriceps and hamstrings), foam rolling (3 minutes on each leg, hitting the IT bands and calves), constructive rest (from Alexander Technique) and a hot bath.
5. Facing Danger
Ralph Alswang, courtesy STREB
“What gets us really in shape is the constant element of danger forcing us to react quicker—it is a unique strength!”