Carver Hill Gallery and Sarah Baldwin are pleased to announce the only midcoast screening of “Breath Made Visible”, a film by Ruedi Gerber about the life and career of American dance pioneer Anna Halprin. The screening will take place on Saturday, April 17 at 7:00 pm and will be followed by a brief talk and contemporary dance workshop with Hannah DeHoff and Mary Blum, who worked with Anna.
Anna Halprin, who is now 86, helped redefine our notion of modern art with her belief in dance's power to teach, heal, and transform. This cinematic portrait blends archival footage with recent interviews of counterparts such as the late Merce Cunningham.
The film takes its audience from Halprin’s initial explorations of dance in her childhood to the experimental performances conducted on her famous dance deck under the California redwood trees. The film then moves on through her spectacular tours in Europe to her temporary withdrawal from the stage due to cancer, which led to her work in the expressive arts healing movement. “Before I had cancer, I lived my life for my art, after I had cancer I lived my art for my life.” Since the illness, she has led countless collaborative dance programs with terminally ill patients, long committed to a belief in the connection between movement and the healing power of dance.
Anna Halprin's diverse career has spanned the field of dance since the late 1930s, creating new direction for the art form and inspiring fellow choreographers to take modern dance to another dimension. In 1955, Anna established the world-famous San Francisco Dancers Workshop, which included John Graham and A.A. Leath. They would go on to earn the highest critical acclaim and controversy in Sweden, while causing scandal in the U.S. for their use of nudity in their performances. In the ‘60s, Halprin would break down more barriers by founding the first multicultural dance company – a poignant symbol of black and white coming together. Her "Planetary Dance: A Prayer for Peace" between peoples and the earth was staged in Berlin at an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Potsdam Treaty to end World War II, and involved over 400 participants. In 1995, she was invited by Mikhail Gorbachev to present an invocation at the State of the World Forum in California.
Halprin now continues to make revolutionary work exploring the beauty of the aging body and its relationship to nature. Recent works include the award winning video Returning Home. In 2004, the battles that her husband (acclaimed landscape architect Lawrence Halprin) was waging with illness led Anna to turn her grief into art once more through the dance routine “Intensive Care: Reflections on Death and Dying” at the Festival D’Automne in Paris. In 2005, Anna developed a filmed performance called “Seniors Rocking”. In 2006 The Museum of Contemporary Art presented a major one-woman exhibition of her life’s achievements.
With the aid of truly awe-inspiring footage, Halprin can be seen making her triumphant return to the stage six years ago at the youthful age of 80. A few years later, during her 15 minute solo performance at the sold out Joyce Theater in New York, Halprin profoundly whispered to her audience: “There are so many more dances yet to do – with all you!”
Anna continues to perform, travel and teach with fervor. She gets the most out of her life, living by her adage “Aging is like enlightenment at gunpoint.”
“I've always said dance is the breath made visible and that covers about everything because once you stop breathing and the breath is no longer visible, you stop moving.” - Anna Halprin
The screening will be at the Cider Barn at Carver Hill Gallery, located at 264 Meadow Street in Rockport. For more information, please call 207-236-0745. Tickets are $15 and seating is limited to 45 people, so reservations are recommended.
Reviews of Breath Made Visible:
"Engaging. Illustrative. The quintessential Left Coast choreographer Anna Halprin has helped push the boundaries of modern dance." - VARIETY, Dennis Harvey
" A fascinating subject" – San Francisco Chronicle, Leba Hertz
"Ms. Halprin becomes quite as rich a subject for film as Ms.Monk: another odd face, another wonderfully calm (though ardently enthusiastic) and open talker, another (and senior) artist who responds to both politics and scenery."- The New York Times
" An intelligent, beautifully photographed, smartly edited film [...]. Gerber's film reveals not only the important artistic influences Halprin had on such distinghuished artists as Merce Cunningham, Trisha Brown, and Yvonne Rainer, but also what a groundbreaking force Halprin was in political and other cultural arenas." - Backstage
Anna is one of the most important theatre artists of the 20th century. James Roose-Evans, author of “Experimental Theatre”
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