Anna Halprin Documentary: Breath Made Visible

May 10, 2010

For the last seven decades, Anna Halprin, the American dance pioneer, has redefined our notions of modern art by exploring one question in her work: What is important in life? The search for that answer has ushered in such revolutionary experimentation in theater, music, and performance that it's reach extends beyond the arts and into our cultural conscious. Anna has not only succeeded in fusing art and life but has developed a new mindset: one that hails the vitality of existence and debunks the 'limitations of age.'

BREATH MADE VISIBLE is the first feature documentary about the life and career of Anna Halprin. The film takes its audience from Halprin’s initial explorations of dance in her childhood to the experimental performances conducted on a dance deck under Californian redwood trees, through her spectacular tours in Europe, her withdrawal from the stage due to illness, and, finally, her triumphant return.

Previously unreleased archival footage further extends the subject matter from a personal portrait of an artist to what is essentially the history of the socially and politically committed art of dance performance in North America. In a profoundly touching interview, the late Merce Cunningham reflects: “Anna is a prophet, a philosopher.” In 1955, Anna established the world-famous San Francisco Dancers Workshop, which included John Graham and A.A. Leath. They would go on to earned 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 finding the first multicultural dance company – a poignant symbol of black and white coming together.

The reviews for this film are unanimously positive.  Check out the Rotten Tomatoes site for reviews and showtimes, or the film's website for more info.

Photos: Courtesy of artist's website

Tags: Anna Halprin, dance, Breath Made Visible, movies, film, documentary

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