95 Rituals for Anna Halprin, 95
Anna Halprin, photo by Pak Han
What do Martha Graham, Ninette de Valois, Katherine Dunham, Freddie Franklin, Kazuo Ohno and now Anna Halprin have in common?
They all stayed active in dance past the age of 95.
Next week the Dancers’ Group celebrates visionary Anna Halprin’s birthday with a free performance series called 95 RITUALS. The series, from July 7 to 11 in San Francisco, is the collective mastermind of the international physical theater group—and 2008 “25 to Watch”—inkBoat.
“Anna is the stone, the rock. This rock drops into the pool and we’re all the little ripples that move out from the impact of the rock on the surface of the water.” —Shinichi Iova-Koga, artistic director of inkBOAT
inkBoat, photo courtesy inkBoat
Among those thousands of little ripples, 95 have contributed scores for this event. (I’m happy to say that I am one of them.) What are scores in dance? The idea initially came from composer Morton Subotnick, who collaborated with Halprin on her historic Parades and Changes in the ’60s. It’s a structure that can be as vague or precise as you want to make it. The instructions can be written or spoken, long and elaborate or short and simple. Below is an example of a score for 95 RITUALS; this one is contributed by the Bay Area’s wildman performance artist Keith Hennessy.
Keith Hennessy's contribution to 95 Rituals
Meredith Monk, who studied with Halprin long ago, said, “I thought her scoring was brilliant, how she took one concept and stuck with it.” (Janice Ross’ book: Anna Halprin: Experience as Dance.
One of the concepts Halprin stuck with is the annual Planetary Dance, which she’s been leading for 35 years. This exuberant ritual combines her love of nature, her commitment to community and her political activism. It’s been a gateway to her work for many people.
95 RITUALS will be a free, site-specific series for the ages. Tuesday–Saturday, July 7–11 at Hyde Street Pier at Fisherman’s Wharf, 2905 Hyde Street, San Francisco. Click here for more info.
Accompanying this series is a July 9th screening of Ruedi Gerber’s latest documentary, Journey in Sensuality—Anna Halprin and Rodin, followed by a Q&A with Anna and the filmmaker. (I loved his first film on her, Breath Made Visible.) For more info, click here or here.
Anna Halprin is a performer, choreographer, and educator who contributed to the pioneering of postmodern dance as well as somatic practices. 95 RITUALS is bound to be momentous.
Essential oils sometimes get a bad rap. Between the aggressive social media marketing for the products and the sometimes magical-sounding claims about their healing properties, it's easy to forget what they can actually do. But if you look beyond the pyramid schemes and exaggerations, experts believe they have legit benefits to offer both mind and body.
How can dancers take advantage of their medicinal properties? We asked Amy Galper, certified aromatherapist and co-founder of the New York Institute of Aromatic Studies:
Karen Azenberg, a past president of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, stumbled on something peculiar before the union's 2015 move to new offices: a 52-year-old sealed envelope with a handwritten note attached. It was from Agnes de Mille, the groundbreaking choreographer of Oklahoma! and Rodeo. De Mille, a founding member of SDC, had sealed the envelope with gold wax before mailing it to the union and asking, in a separate note, that it not be opened. The reason? "It is the outline for a play, and I have no means of copyrighting…The material is eminently stealable."