1.10.2012

Anna Halprin: Breath Made Visible


The other day a friend studying Movement Therapy Somatic Counseling Psychology at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, sent me some information about Anna Halprin and her movie Breath Made Visible created by filmmaker Ruedi Gerber. The dancer's name hadn't rung a bell, but when I started watching the trailer to the film, I realized I had seen Anna Halprin dance in San Diego about ten years ago at Sushi Contemporary Performance and Visual Arts.

Even though I didn't file her name away in my head, for me Anna Halprin's performance was a life altering experience. The way she moves is indescribable but somehow deeply knowable all at the same time. When I was watching, I remember thinking, "This is the kind of movement I would do if I was a dancer. It's so alive, pure, and raw." Anna Halprin's movement was real and transitory all at the same time. The dance wasn't filled with elongated lines of the body, but rather the unique patterns of a soul inscribed in space. For several months after her performance, I moved around my apartment and made up stories with my body in response to her work. She made me feel like every movement was incredibly special and something to rejoice in.

Connecting to your body however you can in what is most authentic for you in each moment can be a healing and transforming experience. Playing sports, walking, yoga, dance, rocking in your chair, or just lying on the floor and moving your arm to express the story of your emotional landscape can be one way to return to the place that is most authentically you.

Anna Halprin is going to turn 92 this year, and she is still performing, teaching, and traveling and living her own saying, "Aging is like enlightenment at gunpoint." What a hoot!! Thank you Anna Halprin, for helping me see the beauty in every movement of my body.

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