On a windy, bright Saturday afternoon at low tide, a crowd of nearly 200 gathered on the beach beneath Shoreline Park. Some leaned against the chalky beach cliffs; others spread out blankets on the sand.
Down at the waterline, five dancers huddled together, arms around each other’s shoulders. The women wore flowing, coral-colored dresses; the lone man was bare-chested with wide-legged pants. From amongst the onlookers floated the strains of classical violin; musician Nicole McKenzie in a sea foam green gown stood playing at the base of the steps, and the dance began.
Dancers Kaita Lepore Mrazek and Weslie Ching sank down onto the wet sand of the tidal zone, stretching and rolling, rearranging their limbs with languorous grace as dark sand tracked up their thighs and across their backs. As their movements grew more vigorous, their sodden dresses began to plop and thwack against the ground.
Behind them, the ocean sucked and lapped at the shore, and a flock of gulls surfed air currents overhead. Kyle Castillo leaped into view, arching his back as he barrel-turned over rock and puddle at the water’s edge. In the foreground, Monica Ford entered the sandy stage, spinning and kicking a flexed foot high in the air.
One of the unexpected delights of Robin Bisio’s Anemone Ball was the constantly shifting setting: sailboats and kite surfers dancing in the distance, children tiptoeing in the tidepools, even the bounding dogs who joined in the dance for a moment. Green sea grass tossed and waved in the shallows, while patches of orange-brown kelp undulated in the deeper currents. Even the sand itself shifted, growing rougher underfoot as the dancers carved patterns in its surface, while the remaining smooth, wet patches reflected the cloud-streaked sky. Last to enter this wet, windblown scene was Cybil Gilbertson, who flitted in between reclining figures, circling and swaying as if carried by the tides.
When the dance was over, there was a pause, and then the audience surged forward, the smallest children breaking away first to leap and roll across the beach. Beyond them, the wet sandy dancers waded out into the water, transforming themselves from mermaids to seals as their shiny, dark heads bobbed in the surf