Anna Halprin

Doris Duke Impact Award, 2014

Kentfield, CA

For over 70 years, Anna Halprin has extended the boundaries of dance to address social issues, build community, foster physical and emotional healing, and connect people to nature. In 2013–14, collaborating with a multinational cast in Berkeley and then with the Vertigo Dance Company in Israel, she re-created her seminal Parades and Changes to address today’s pressing concerns. In 2015, a series of performances worldwide celebrated her 95th birthday. Other honors include the Samuel H. Scripps Award for Lifetime Achievement in Modern Dance (1997), a 2006 solo exhibition at art museums in Lyon and San Francisco, and two 2016 museum exhibitions in San Francisco, with accompanying performance events. Halprin has created more than 150 dance theater works and remains a committed arts educator through workshops and the Tamalpa Institute, an international movement-based expressive arts training program. She is currently writing a new book detailing her community dances for peace and healing.

  • Photo Credit: Kent Reno
  • Anna Halprin- Parades and Changes (2013) :
    Parades and Changes (2013)
  • Photo Credit: Pak Han
    Parades and Changes (2013)
  • Photo Credit: John Kokoska
    Spirit of Place (2009)

Artistically, what do you do & why do you do it?

I have an enduring love for dance and its power to teach, inspire, heal, and transform. I’ve committed my life to probing the nature of dance and exploring its impact as a creative process. I find excitement in sharing my love of dance with diverse people, from children to seniors. Their unique creativity inspires me to make dances that grow out of our lives. For example, in response to the Watts riots, in a workshop process, I led an all-black and an all-white group to create a performance together, “Ceremony of Us.” When I was stricken with cancer, I used dance as a healing process and shared this with others facing cancer and AIDS. Recently, I conducted the Planetary Dance for Peace with Israelis and Palestinians. I want to integrate life and art, so that as our art expands, our life deepens, and as our life deepens, our art expands.