On May 24th, 2021, Anna Halprin left this world at the age of 100. Her work’s influence went far beyond the confines of the art world, and what is known as modern dance, to include cultural diversity, the AIDS crisis, death and dying and psychological healing. She is easily the most transformatively influential choreographer in the 20th century.
In 1972, I went to San Francisco to study with her, following the footsteps of my teacher in New York City, Yvonne Rainer. That summer with Anna changed my life, transforming me from one who danced in the work of others’ to being a choreographer in my own right.
Here is a dance she performed at the age of 96 to the music of another one of her students, Meredith Monk, also one of my teachers.