Production and video direction Jacqueline Caux
Based on filmed conversations and in particular on a myriad of extracts of rehearsals, performances and rare archives, this film charts the fundamental ruptures that Anna Halprin initiated in the field of dance.
The soundtrack of the film is by Pauline Oliveros and Terry Riley who both partnered with Anna Halprin at different times.
This ever-so particular form of artistic expression, which would later go on to be known as “performance”, was created in California in the second half of the 1950s, long before it spread to New York. Everyone who participated in the dawning of this movement knows that Anna Halprin is one of its key initiators. Born in 1920, it was Anna Halprin who literally broke down all the conventions that subsisted in contemporary dance by focusing her research on daily gestures and by taking the human being's anatomy, unconscious desires and sexual impulses into account. In 1957, she introduced the notion of “task” (actions to be accomplished such as getting dressed, undressed, moving about whilst carrying a very heavy object, etc.). Wearing training shoes or high-heels, she improvised in car parks, building sites, streets.
On the outdoor dance stage that her husband the architect Lawrence Halprin built for her, just below their home, near San Francisco, she enticed young artists from a variety of as yet totally unknown fields into her enchanted, crazy adventures – by galvanizing their own creativity to the extreme. Dancers like Simone Forti, Yvonne Rainer, Trisha Brown, Meredith Monk, and Robert Morris (before he turned to sculpture), who went on to introduce Anna Halprin's radical innovations to New York by forming a core group in the Judson Dance Theater. Composers such as La Monte Young and Terry Riley, who she appointed as musical co-directors in 1959, and who experimented the minimal and repetitive music that they were in the process of inventing with her. Also, the plastic artist Charles Ross, the poet James Broughton and the filmmaker Stan Brakhage…
This highly-important phase, which led Anna Halprin more than ever before to consider reality in her work, also kept her at a distance from the media projectors of the city of New York: with all the artistic resources that she had at her disposal, it was her fight against cancer that she was diagnosed with in 1972 and that she relapsed with in 1975. After recovering, she began working with cancer-stricken patients and later with people suffering from AIDS. “I am not a therapist”, she insisted on specifying, “I am an artist who wishes to develop imaginative social and personal issues. For me, art means: bringing things that are imposed upon us into a creative process.”
The Californian environment reinforced Anna Halprin and offered her the opportunity to celebrate, far from any demonstrative virtuosity, the beauty of the human body's natural movement. This, coupled with her long association with illness and death, led her to create her more recent improvisations with nature such as “Returning Home” and “Season” in 2003 and “Rocking Seniors” in October 2005.
Production et Réalisation Jacqueline Caux
Image Andy Abrahams Wilson et Marguerite Etermand
Extraits d'archives Vidéos et Photos Anna Halprin, « Princess Spring Time » (1957), « The Bed » (1957), « Merce Cunningham on Anna Halprin dance deck », « Anna Halprin on dance deck », « Hangar » (1957),« Procession » (1964), « Parades and Changes » (1965 - 2000),« The Bust » (1969),
« Dancing My Cancer » (1975),« Intensive Care » (2000), « Be With » (2001)
Photos Cinémathèque de la Danse à Paris
Son Pascal Humbert Montage Dora Soltani Musique Pauline Oliveros « The Roots of The Moment », Terry Riley « Birds of Paradise »
Post production Centre national d'art et de culture, Georges Pompidou
Service vidéo danse Michèle Bargues
Chargée de production Murielle Dos Santos
Etalonnage Didier Coudraie
Mixage Nicolas Joly
Banc-titre Yann Bellet
Conformation Christian Bahier
Traduction TV 5
Updating : February 2013