Anna Halprin

Anna Halprin’s Wikipedia page. Anna Halprin’s personal website.

Filmed 26 days before her 99th birthday, you can sit with Anna Halprin in her beautiful Marin County home designed by Anna and her husband Lawrence Halprin. She’ll talk to you about the creation of the Planetary Dance and then describe how her style of dance allows you to dance YOU.

Since the late 1930s Anna Halprin has been creating revolutionary directions for dance, inspiring artists in all fields. Richard Schechner, editor of TDR: The Drama Review, calls her “one of the most important and original thinkers in performance.” Merce Cunningham said, “What’s she’s done … is a very strong part of dance history.” 

Defying traditional notions of dance, Anna has extended its boundaries to address social issues, build community, foster both physical and emotional healing, and connect people to nature. In response to the racial unrest of the 1960s, she brought together a group of all-black and a group of all-white dancers in a collaborative performance, Ceremony of Us. She then formed the first multiracial dance company and increasingly focused on social justice themes. When she was diagnosed with cancer in the early 1970s, she used dance as part of her healing process and subsequently created innovative dance programs for cancer and AIDS patients. An early pioneer in the use of expressive arts for healing, she co-founded the Tamalpa Institute with her daughter Daria in 1978. Today, the Tamalpa’s ArtCorps program continues a vision close to Anna's heart: using dance as a healing and peace-making force for people all over the world.

Increasingly, Anna’s performances moved out of the theater and into the community, helping people address social and emotional concerns. An ongoing community effort, now more than 39 years old, is her Planetary Dance, promoting peace among people and peace with the Earth. Open to everyone, it has been performed in more than 50 countries. 


Credit and thanks to brilliant photographer Jens Wazel for supplying the 16:9 footage from “A Morning with Anna Halprin” that opens and closes this WisdomVR experience. Jens’ remarkable photography portfolio is at jenswazelphotography.com.


For more information about the Planetary Dance, an excellent video about the history of the dance is available here.

And for more information about Anna Halprin’s work, here’s a selection of excellent videos, including a feature-length documentary about her life (many more videos are available on Youtube and at her personal website.)


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