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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Breath Made Visible

Starts July 15

I had never heard of Anna Halprin until I saw this film and much to my surprise I really was amazed by the performance dances that she and her various groups developed. One of the most memorable pieces for me is when she is tangled in a net moving back and forth on the beach looking like an integrated part of nature. It was beautiful to watch. She said that the breath made visible came from the natural idea that, if you stop breathing, you stop moving. She has had a love affair with dancing in the natural world since she was small.

Director Ruedi Gerber's documentary takes us back in time, since Anna Halprin was born in 1924 and like most children she started off in ballet but soon found that didn’t feel right since she loves to move and explore the nature around her. Simultaneously we watch her dance philosophies and her personal life develop. She begins simply with humor, moves on to more radical and political pieces. Then, when she develops cancer, she sets off on a spiritual quest and now she does pieces on old age and even integrates workshops for those in retirement homes.

This is a straight-forward documentary which even includes how this lifestyle affected the lives of her immediate family and followed the critics on her work. She is one of the pioneers in the post-modern dance forms and we certainly have the chance to take in a breath of what all she has done. This film is for anyone who is interested in performance art and dance history.

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