The Healer

Review:”The Healer

Co-presented by RAWdance and ODC Theater
Choreography: Katrina Wong with the performers
Performance. Michaela Cruze, Juliann Witt, Katerina Wong, Stacy Yuen
Cinematography: Jenny Chu: Editing: Loren R. Robertson:
Original Score: Daniel Berkman: Scenic Design:Chad Owens: Lighting: Del Medoff
Video produced by Loren Robertson Productions

The dance is “ holistic online experience and virtual dance performance. The Healer creates space for personal reflection, communal breath, and universal release.

The dance is a quartet for four women, costumed in light colored tops (not clear on the screen the exact color), each wearing a different colored skirt. Three of the four do solos. The technique demonstrated used the conventions of ballet, modern, and I was told, jazz and acrobatics. There were lots of arabesques and leaping, circle formations and sections demonstrating support and balance for an individual dancer. In those sections, the soloist appeared to go into her private place. With dancers on screen being less than one-quarter inch, it was difficult to witness those sections.

When is a dance performance a public event and when is it a personal, internal experience? Can it be both? This dance, it must be assumed, is both.

Years ago, for an ODC magazine (no longer published), I wrote an article entitled, “Dance is Not Therapy.” Every dancer finds her/his way of bringing the ‘self’ to the performance, but, as a dance therapist who has dealt with both physical and emotional concerns, I believe very strongly that there is difference in intention and craft that should be redefined in performance.

The Healer” was a filmed dance: thus there was no live audience. One dancer remarked in the discussion after the event, that having no visible audience ‘freed” her from any critical sense. She was therefore dancing for herself and with the others. She especially enjoyed her ‘breathing’ experience.

The dancers were charming and skilled. The choreography was pleasant, predictable and generally easy to watch. I found the musical score fascinating. (Thank you Daniel Berkman!) Yet, TV dance, Zoom dance, film dance is not kinesthetic experience since the physical energy, so vital to dance communication, is not transmitted.

Long discussions preceded and followed the performance of “The Healer”. This writer would rather see (and acknowledge) the dance energy than get lost in words.

From left, Katerina Wong, Juliann Witt, Michaela Cruze (Stacey Yuen occluded) in RAWdance’s The Healer.
Photo credit:

Joanna G. Harris


COVID-19 shots at the Kaiser Permanente Cafe

We signed up for COVID shots on the KP website on Jan 16 and (since we qualified) were given appointments in Oakland on Sunday Jan 24. The injection site is just down the block on MacArthur from the hospital complex and used to be a CSAAA headquarters. The entire operation worked very smoothly. Since we were a bit early, the staff managing the parking lot behind the building told us to wait in the car until called. At the appropriate time they came past the cars and told us to start at the entrance line (with social distance spacing). In all, we were in 3 or 4 queues, all of which were short, to answer questions, get forms and finally get the injections. After the injections we went to a large room to wait for 15 minutes, just in case there was an allergic or other reaction, and then happily home with our official proof of purchase cards. Staff was helpful, experience non-stressful. Very well done! We now await round 2.

Barbara Lee to the Senate? I’m not sure.

When it became apparent that the Biden-Harris ticket would win the election, like many others I immediately thought that the replacement for Senator Harris might be Representative Barbara Lee. Now, I’m not so sure.

Senator Harris’ seat will be up in 2022, so her replacement will only get 2 years of service before having to defend the seat if she tries for reelection.

Although Barbara Lee has to defend her seat every two years, she is enormously popular in her district and so far has withstood GOP challenges easily.The GOP has tried very hard to replace her, and in a state-wide senatorial election I think their efforts and funding would be massive, and she may not be beloved in other parts of the state.

Ms. Lee’s long tenure has gotten her to be senior member of the powerful (and very important) Appropriations Committee. She is Vice Chair of the subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs and serves on the subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies and the subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies. All this seniority would be lost if she moves to the Senate.

There is obviously a great short term gain by appointing her to the senate, but I cannot evaluate the long term prospects or dynamics. Barbara Lee has been in Washington long enough that she would best be able to think through the long term’s gain (or loss). Hopefully, she will be asked.