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Thursday, July 7, 2011

288. Breath Made Visible: Anna Halprin


    The fact that I have not got an ounce of it myself makes me a great admirer of grace.
    Some people, Anna Halprin included, can just curl a finger and make it a sight for sore eyes.
    When Breath Made Visible was made, Halprin was in her late 80s yet she was moving like a dancer in their 20s.
    This is remarkable in itself. But then take into account that 30 years previously she beat cancer...twice!
    Before everyfilmin2011, modern dance was a distant foreign land to me...exotic but unexplored.
    Having seen a couple of films about Pina Bausch, I have become more beguiled by it.
    But Halprin's expression of dance push things further still, leaving me to appreciate but not, if I'm honest, really understand.
    Breath Made Visible is a story of Halprin's life, combined with some of the dance pieces which have made her famous.
    Her life with family, friends and work colleagues has been molded around dance and her unstoppable creativty.
    In Ruedi Gerber's movie she explains the part that nature plays in her work (we even seen an amazing dance in the waves of the sea near her California home).
    Throughout, there are interviews with her, her former troupe colleagues, her daughters and her husband of nearly 70 years Lawrence Halprin, who died during its making. There is even a reunion with dancers who were with her company when it was most famous in the 1960s
    We learn how she was a pioneer of certain dance styles and a famous teacher who was well used to pushing back convention's boundaries.
    Halprin even brought together racially disparate groups after riots in Los Angeles in the late 1960s. She did, as she says, dance for social justice.
    She is an incredible woman and a clear example that staying fit gives a greater chance of longevity and keeps the mind sharp (the same was clear of Vidal Sassoon in his recent biopic).
    Gerber's film is more of a homage than a warts and all analysis but because of its archive footage being clever weaved in, it held my interest.
    So, without being a classic, it is certainly worth 6/10.

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288. Breath Made Visible: Anna Halprin


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