The Unlimited Possibilities of the Human Spirit

An Exhibit of Diversity, Community, Humanity and Environment


N Anna Halprin

© Nova Starling 2010

Anna Halprin


"I believe

if more of us could contact the natural world

in a directly experimental way

this would alter the way we treat

our environment, ourselves, and one another."


"Transforming Life Though Dance"

As a pioneer of Post Modern Dance, she was interested in the importance of personal creativity and the collaborative process and the creation of an art of everyday life.

A diagnosis of cancer at the age of 50 shifted her focus. Investigating and healing her own disease lead to the evolution of the "Life/Art Process" and inspired workshops dedicated to therapeutic, transformational, and psychological needs. Using tools of the body, movement, dialogue, voice, drawing, improvisation, performance, and reflection, she was able to provoke others to explore themselves and use art as a therapy to heal themselves.
She developed training in this process at the Tamalpa Institute which she cofounded with her daughter Daria in Marin County.

Her use of dance as her compass through the stages of life from youth into old age and the stages of the profession from dancer, choreographer, teacher, performance theorist, community leader, healer, wife, mother, cancer survivor, and ultimately dancing Elder -- has proved inspirational to generations of dancers, teachers, healthcare providers, and expressive art therapists.

Through her performing and teaching which she continues in her 90s Halprin created the groundwork for redefinition of American modern dance as a contemporary ritual and a forum for the artist as a morally, psychologically and socially engaged individual.

Anna was awarded for her lifetime achievement as a dancer by both The Association of Theater Movement Educators in 2005 and by the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival in 1997.

Halprin is an early pioneer in the expressive arts healing movement. 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.

Halprin has also investigated numerous social issues through dance and through theatrical innovations.

At the time I photographed Anna for this painting in 2006, she was 87. Anna is the second generation of Lithuanian immigrants who fled Eastern Europe at the turn of the century.

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