Who says I have to dance in a theater... Anna Halprin
Shot in Paris, where, invited for the first time in 2004, at the age of 84, she was reviving three emblematic pieces from her work, and in California where she has been living and working since the mid-1950s, this film allows us to apprehend a quite unique conception of choreographic art. Indeed, for Anna Halprin: “dance does not have to be beautiful, it is simply part of life”.
This principle, which guided her personal and professional career, led her very early on to break with all forms of aesthetics and to take her distance from the representatives of modern dance, then at its zenith, to conduct her own research.
By preferring a sensory and relational approach to movement, by elaborating the concept of “tasks” based on everyday gestures, and by composing from open improvisations and scores, Anna Halprin paved the way for American postmodern dance – a movement that Trisha Brown, who was her disciple, joined.
Anna Halprin was a pioneer and dissenter in more ways than one: thus, with one of the performances presented in Paris, Parades and Changes, in 1965 she confronted the taboo of nudity. And while, after she settled on the West coast of America, she included nature in her experimentations, she would also free herself of theatre and its conventions to re-introduce dance into the flow of life.
Source : Myriam Bloedé
Since the late 1930s Anna Halprin has been creating revolutionary directions for dance, inspiring artists in all fields. Through her students Trisha Brown, Yvonne Rainer, and Simone Forti, Anna strongly influenced New York’s Judson Dance Theater, one of the seedbeds of postmodern dance. Defying traditional notions of dance, Anna has extended its boundaries to address social issues, build community, foster both physical and emotional healing, and connect people to nature. In response to the racial unrest of the 1960s, she brought together a group of all-black and a group of all-white dancers in a collaborative performance, Ceremony of Us. She then formed the first multiracial dance company and increasingly focused on social justice themes. When she was diagnosed with cancer in the early 1970s, she used dance as part of her healing process and subsequently created innovative dance programs for cancer and AIDS patients.
With her husband, the landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, Anna developed methods of generating collective creativity. During the late 1960s and early 70s, they led a series of workshops called “Experiments in the Environment,” bringing dancers, architects, and other artists together and exploring group creativity in relation to awareness of the environment, in both rural and urban settings. Increasingly, Anna’s performances moved out of the theater and into the community, helping people address social and emotional concerns.
Over her long career Anna has created more than 150 dance theater works and written three books. Many of her dances have grown out of her life experiences. After her husband faced a life-threatening crisis, for instance, she developed the performance Intensive Care: Reflections on Death and Dying (2000). Facing her own aging, she worked with older people in her community to evolve "Seniors Rocking" (2005), performed by over 50 elders outdoors in rocking chairs. To honor the memory of her husband, she created a trilogy, including "Spirit of Place", a site-specific work in an outdoor theater space he had designed (performed in 2009, shortly before his death). In 2013 she revisited her groundbreaking "Parades and Changes" (1965), retaining its essence but adding new sections to heighten its relevance for today’s world.
Source: Anna Halprin 's website
More information :
Who says I have to dance in a theater
Production / Coproduction of the video work
Jacqueline Caux, Musée d'Art Contemporain de Lyon