Featuring: Marcy Auerbach-Unal, Virginia Bock, Natasha Carlitz, Julie Debell, Irina Degtiar, Elena Grindley, Elayne Groechel, Susan Leftwich, I-Heng McComb, Karen McWilliams, Elizabeth Muller, Lisa Maria Navarro, Stefanie Olsen, Tracey Stanelun, Erika Tingey and Tammy Todd; and workshop dancers Rachel Barna, Julia Canavese, Karen Gottlieb, Kim Greenway, Dani Hanson, Hanna Harwood, Maya Jain, Vaness Nudd and Anita Silver.
When: May 31 and June 1, 2013
Where: Cubberly Theater, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto
Visit highrelease.org for information.
My only gripe with the dancers of High Release Dance is that they just don't put on public shows often enough to suit my interest in seeing them perform.
The highly unusual troupe -- with no director, but with 16 or so members who decide things democratically -- puts on its one big show every two years, to raise money to pay for rehearsal space, then burrows back underground like cicadas, to gestate new dances for the next show.
They do pop up every once in a while in other dance programs around the Bay Area, but so far at least, the big dance concert only happens every two years.
For 2013, it took place on May 31 and June 1, at Cubberly Theater in Palo Alto, and it was delightful.
These are not, for the most part, the perfect, young hard bodies of such companies as Smuin Ballet, dancing perfectly in hard-edged perfection.
The dancers of High Release, for the most part, are adult women who've been dancing for decades -- in some cases, quite a few decades -- and they have all sorts of bodies. A hard body here, a voluptuously rounded body there.
All of them move beautifully, and with considerable skill.
What they all seem to have in common is a love of dance, and considerable creative intelligence, which was very much on display during this year's big show.
The dancing was excellent, but not perfect -- there were a few modest missteps. Overall, the program was beautiful, creative, fascinating and completely entertaining.
It was like watching thought and emotion unfurling like flowers on the stage.
There were 16 dances, with choreography by 11 of the dancers. Everyone eventually gets a chance to choreograph, but the rule is, they don't perform in their own works.
A nice touch was a collection of what the program called "Interludes: Why We Dance." Each recording, on a huge screen behind the stage, showed photos of the dancers -- as little girls and as grown-ups -- with their own voice-overs explaining their history and love of dance.
A very nice touch that helped us get to know the dancers a little better, while they caught their breath and changed costumes backstage.