May 26, 2017
98 South Austin Street
In the 1960s, on a redwood dance deck built within a grove of trees in Marin County, California, the artist and choreographer Anna Halprin led a community of dancers, musicians, and sculptors through a collective process that sought new systems for generating creativity. Rejecting the narrative styles and performance conventions of high Modernism, Halprin brought her dancers into the city street and natural landscape. Works developed in direct response to environmental and architectural space also addressed the social upheavals and racial tensions of that era. She sought to unravel these entrenched power dynamics by foregrounding the simplicity of task-based actions alongside the performer’s real experiences and emotional history. As Halprin explains in an interview with her former student Yvonne Rainer, such work introduced a radical idea of dance as the “rhythmic phenomena of the human being reacting to the environment.”
Introduced by dancer Nina Martin and curator Jennifer Burris Staton, who will also give an overview of the weekend’s program, film screenings showcase Halprin’s philosophy of movement and offer a rare opportunity to view archival footage of her choreography from the 1950s to the present.
Previously screened at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and Anthology Film Archives in New York, Jacqueline Caux’s Anna Halprin – Out of Boundaries, 53 minutes (2004) brings together documentary video and photographs of the following works: Princess Spring Time (1957), The Bed (1957), Merce Cunningham on Anna Halprin dance deck (1950s), Hangar (1957), Procession (1964), Parades and Changes (1965–2000), The Bust (1969), Dancing My Cancer (1975), Intensive Care (2000), and Be With (2001).
With a background in psychoanalysis, Jacqueline Caux is a filmmaker and a writer whose work focuses on the experimental music, dance, and art communities of the 1960s and 70s. She has realized several documentaries and short experimental films selected in many festivals in France and abroad. As a writer she had published books of interviews and is a contributor the French art magazine art press. Caux has also organized new music festivals and realized “horspiels” for the French radio France Culture.