The evolution of movement
Idocumentary, not rated, Anna Halprin saved my life. I found my way to her dance space — a studio and deck on a redwood-clogged hillside below her house in Marin County, California — after moving to San Francisco at the age of 39, when I discovered I was too old to start over in a new city as a professional dancer. On Tuesday nights, for several years, Halprin gave me a space to grieve the end of my career in a way that was organic and profound — through movement. She was in her 80s.
In this new documentary about Halprin, Swiss filmmaker Ruedi Gerber brilliantly captures the essence of what Halprin discovered as an artist (and what she gave to me) — that dance is not just a performing art but is, or can be, a transformative act. The Tuesday-night class I attended during those difficult years was called Movement Ritual.
As a journalist, I followed Halprin with her company on a trek to Paris, in 2004, where she was booked at the Centre Georges Pompidou. This engagement is documented in the film, as are performances given by Halprin through the seven decades in which she has been dancing professionally. It seemed ironic that her touchy-feely experiential work was finally getting the attention that had been given for decades by the European art cognoscenti to the more rigorously abstract and technical work of New Yorkbased modern dance artists such as Merce Cunningham. In fact, Cunningham once worked with Halprin. And many of the leading choreographers in New York, such as Trisha Brown, Meredith