I think Anna Halprin is immortal. She was there before the beginning and will be there after the end. The beginning of what? Of postmodern dance, or improvisation as performance, of collaborating with wild artists in other fields, of dancing to heal communities.
She still has energy, insight, and curiosity. In this “Teacher’s Wisdom” she recalled how when she studied anatomy, human muscles looked like fish to her. She also talks about the need for each of us to integrate our polarities, our opposites, and become part of an environment.
We can see her in action in a wonderful documentary on her called Breath Made Visible. I wrote about the film in this blog post, in which I said that Halprin is a national treasure.
The photo above is from a piece Halprin choreographed called Prophetess in 1955, probably performed at the ANTA Theater in NYC. She told me that she was rehearsing in Martha Graham’s studio, and Graham helped her make the headress. And it turned out that they were both prophetesses.
Long Live Anna Halprin! —Wendy Perron
Photo: Anna Halprin, 1955, by Imogen Cunningham from Dance Magazine Archives, reprinted with permission of Imogen Cunningham Trust, at www.imogencunningham.com