Anna Halprin


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(née A. Shumann; b Winnetka, Ill., 13 Jul. 1920)

US dancer, choreographer, and teacher. She studied with Margaret H'Doubler at the Univ. of Wisconsin and made her debut in Weidman's Sing out Sweet Land (1945). In 1948 she set up a studio in San Francisco with Welland Lathrop where she taught until 1955, at which point she founded Dancers Workshop, a group where dancers could collaborate with artists from other disciplines. She presented the first of her Summer Workshops in 1959, in which groups of avant-garde artists including Terry Riley, LaMonte Young, Yvonne Rainer, and Meredith Monk collaborated on works like Birds of America (1959). While based on the West Coast Halprin had a seminal influence on the New York experimental dance scene and during the early 1960s her works appeared in avant-garde festivals in Europe. A warrant for her arrest was issued in 1967 after New York performances of Parades and Changes (1965) because the event featured nude performers. Many of her works, including Cement Spirit and Imitations and Transformations (both 1971), were created communally within her inter-racial, multi-disciplinary workshops and her interest subsequently shifted from professional to community dance work. In 1995 she created and directed Planetary Dance: A Prayer for Peace, a work performed by hundreds of participants in Berlin, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. In June 1999, aged 79, she performed two solos combining speech and dance and in 2001 created Be With with Eiko and Koma. She continued to revive her past works.

Subjects: Dance.

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