Pop Up SLAM & Façade


Funding Received: 2012
Brooklyn, NY
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
September 11, 2012

The STREB Lab for Action Mechanics (SLAM) is expanding its unique programming offsite, creating “Pop Up” SLAM adaptable action zones which can occupy a myriad of public spaces including parks, vacant lots and parking lots.  This project will also incorporate the design by Norwegian architecture firm Snohetta of a new façade for STREB’s Brooklyn studio.

On August 6, 2012, STREB launched its first POP UP SLAM, a month long series of free classes for children and adults at McCarren Park located at the intersection of the Williamsburg and Greenpoint communities.

McCarren Park - with playing fields, a city swimming pool, picnic areas, playgrounds and shaded lawns - attracts the mix of people at the crossroads of two distinct neighborhoods undergoing rapid change economically and demographically.

For the inaugural POP UP SLAM, STREB chose to partner with the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn (OSA), a nonprofit organization that raises funds and works with community members, elected officials, and the New York City Parks Department, to improve existing and create new parks in North Brooklyn.  STREB and OSA came together based on their shared commitment to develop spaces that nurture community and foster exchange, connections and understanding and reflect the diverse interests of community members.

To reach their shared goal, each organization contributed something they could uniquely offer: STREB - a compelling program with a track record of individual and group impact and OSA - public space, access to a new constituency, the ability to navigate city rules and regulations as well as support personnel.

To date, the partnership has proven to be a good fit making the implementation of the first POP UP SLAM seem natural. The seeds for future collaborative efforts have been sown and conversations are underway about next steps.

From the eblast promoting POP UP SLAM:

Throughout the month of August, OSA and STREB Extreme Action Company will offer a series of free classes in Elizabeth Streb’s signature POPACTION technique for children and adults.  Central to POPACTION and SLAM is creative investigation where all are inspired and challenged to go further than they imagined. No Experience Necessary.  

KID ACTION reflects the high energy, fast-paced movement that kids experience all around them everyday. Kid Action, based on 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, acrobatics and aerial arts.


PopAction: Experience the technique that is the foundation of the STREB Extreme Action Company's creative process. POPACTION intertwines dance, athletics, boxing, rodeo, the circus, and Hollywood stuntwork into a bristling muscle-and-motion vocabulary.

Flip & Tuck: Flip and Tuck offers conditioning and training for both advanced tumblers and thosenew to acrobatics in a personalized and supportive atmosphere. It’s a fun and challenging way to increase overall flexibility, core strength, and body alignment – and grow your acrobatic skill set in the process!

The first week of classes attracted a diverse mix of participants, the vast majority of whom had never been to SLAM or taken a PopAction class. On the first day, one little girl was brought by her grandmother who spoke fluent Spanish and halting English.  She, accompanied by her grandmother, has returned everyday since.  Other children come from families whose parents are young professionals or artists themselves new to the neighborhood.  Kids who are out on their own, not involved in any summer programs have stopped by to see what’s going on and have come back for the next class with a parent or guardian to sign the permission form required for participation.  Still others have chosen to be observers.  Each evening, adult classes are filled with people of different backgrounds and experience levels and with different motivations for participation.  The open-air setting creates an environment where participants feel as though there are no preconceived notions or conventions and that the goal is none other than to learn, have fun and discover-- creating conditions that invite social exchange between strangers and mirrors the community building we’ve come to know at SLAM.

With three more weeks to go, momentum is building -- STREB is seeing registration for classes growing and more people stopping by to talk, ask questions and participate.  We are excited about the potential for this new mechanism of extending STREB and SLAM’s reach to have resonance and impact on many levels and in myriad ways throughout community. We look forward to reporting more results next month.