Anna Halprin is one of the most important innovators in the history of modern dance, performance art, and post-modern dance. Moving Toward Life brings together for the first time her essays, interviews, manifestos, and teaching materials, along with over 100 illustrations, providing a rich account of the work that radicalized an entire generation of performers.
Since the late 1950s, Halprin has been at the forefront of experiments in dance, from improvisation and street theatre to dances in the environment and healing dances. A brief overview of Halprin's career shows how her work has prefigured — and transfigured — crucial developments in postmodern dance. In the 1960s, Halprin invented the “workshop,” and in the wake of the Watts riots, her multiracial company broke boundaries in their confrontational political performances. In the 1970s, she organized “community rituals” to explore how individual creativity feeds positively into group dynamics. These healing social events led to her current work with cancer survivors and people challenging AIDS and their caregivers.
Depicting Halprin's deep commitment to social change, Moving Toward Life presents an engaging, critical document of the life of one of the most influential and least known luminaries of American dance. Sally Banes and Janice Ross join Rachel Kaplan in providing introductory essays to sections of the book.