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