Please Release Me 

Starr Foster's new dance explores the wonders of chance.

click to enlarge art40_dance_ballet_200.jpg

Starr Foster's newest work, she says, “is choreographically exactly where I want to be in my life right now.” For such an exacting artist, this is a big deal.

Foster's creations have been delighting Richmond audiences for years, but during the past year her work has matured. “I think I'm growing up,” she says. “I feel like finally my eye is starting to develop again, and I'm able to tap into my artistic voice a little bit more purely.”

“Release,” which premieres this weekend as part of the dance project's fall concert, “Possessions,” is set to music by the Romanian group Balanscu Quartet. It explores the relationships that develop when people are thrown together by chance, through many overlapping and interchanging duets.

Part of this renewed energy may be an outgrowth of Foster dealing with personal issues. She finished choreographing “Release” four days after her mother died. Though the piece is not about her death, Foster says, “Looking back … I guess [making this dance] was my outlet. It was therapeutic for me.”

The concert's title “just seemed appropriate for the dances on the program,” she says. “All three dances are about possessions in some sense.” In “Baggage (and the Seven Deadly Sins),” which premiered last June, the dancers are bound to suitcases full of their personal sins. “Hiding Exhalation,” created in 2007 and reworked this year, “is about friendship and being possessive,” Foster says. In “Release,” dancers are possessed by relationships not of their choosing.

Foster's dancers play a big part in her creative process. “It's exactly the group I want,” she says. “It's a very diverse group.” For the pieces to work, the dancers must be capable and responsive, and Foster feels this group has grown with her. “I feel more confident and the dancers feel more confident. The communication that happens between myself and the dancers is more coherent. … We're moving on to a more mature place.”

And that is a place Richmond audiences won't want to miss.

“Possessions,” an evening of dance by Starr Foster Dance Project, is presented at the Grace Street Theater at 934 W. Grace St., Oct. 8-10 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10. Call 828-2020 for information or visit



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