Anna Halprin
Fearless

Anna Halprin

The Origin of Performance chronicles the life of postmodern dancer and performer Anna Halprin through videos of her dance performances around the world, images of her daughters, drawings made by her students and, possibly most affecting of all, a series of photographs of Halprin herself in her 80s. It's a series in which she melts into the elements of the California coastal environment. In one shot, she has covered her entire naked body, from head to toe, in molasses and hundreds of fine bits of tree bark as she becomes a chameleon with a redwood. In another shot, she is wrapped in a white fabric, moving with the frigid Northern California tide, like a long piece of white kelp that has found itself on the shore. How does a woman in her 80s so fearlessly engage with the world around her? Ms. Halprin is hardly a fearful person. She was one of the first people to ever use nudity in dance, to contemplate death through performance and to combat her own disease with cancer through movement.