notes from Stephen Kern’s Anatomy and Destiny: A Cultural History of the Human Body (1975)
From (the postwar forties and nifty fifties) Martha Graham’s Night Journey (1947/1961) and Jose Limon’s I, Odysseus (1962) [and Louis Horst’s aesthetic prescription for modern dance in, “Aesthetics of Modern Dance,” in Modern Dance Forms (1961)] to the performance works of Merce Cunningham/John Cage and improvisations of Anna Halprin
Elizabeth Dempster, “Women Writing the Body: Let’s Watch a Little How She Dances”
Martha Graham, Night Journey (1947/1961)
Cunningham and Cage: excerpts from Credo of Us (1942), Four Walls (1944),
Summerspace (1958), Crises (1960), Changeling (1964), Scramble (1967).
September 20: Parades and Changes
the improvisational experiments of Anna Halprin and the cultural climate of the 1960s
Anna Halprin pioneered what became known as “postmodern dance,” creating work key to unlocking the door to experimentation in theater, music, Happenings, and performance art. Her extraordinary life can be viewed as the quintessential context of American culture in the 60s; particularly popular culture and the West Coast as a center of artistic experimentation from the Beats through the Hippies.
Halprin’s works continue to defy boundaries between artistic genres as well as between participants and observers; questioning the artist’s roles as dancer, choreographer, performance theorist, community leader, cancer survivor, healer, wife, and mother.
Halprin’s friends and acquaintances include a number of artists who charted the course of postmodern performance. Among her students were Trisha Brown, Simone Forti, Yvonne Rainer, Meredith Monk, and Robert Morris, to whom she exemplified in life and art the vital sense of experimentation, and of how experience becomes performance.
Excerpts from Moving Toward Life: Five Decades of Transformational Dance by
Anna Halprin and Rachel Kaplan
Anna Halprin, “What and How I Believe: Stories & Scores from the 60s.”
Anna Halprin, Parades and Changes (1965) SC VIDEO GV1782.62 .P37 1965