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Breath Made Visible: Revolution in Dance

2009
Distributed by Argot Pictures
Produced by Ruedi Gerber
Directed by Ruedi Gerber
DVD, color, 80 min.
Sr. High – General Adult
Dance, Aging


Reviewed by Rue McKenzie, University of South Florida, Tampa

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   
 
Date Entered: 1/31/2011

Within the first few minutes of viewing Breath Made Visible: Revolution in Dance, the powerful uniqueness of the film becomes evident. The life and career of Anna Halprin is examined through her reflections on dance, art, family, philosophy, healing, and aging. Archival and contemporary film footage and photographic images of performances illustrate the powerful impact of Halprin’s ever-evolving experimentation with the art of dance. Interviews with Merce Cunningham, John Graham, and A. A. Leath provide personal insights into the phenomenon that was and still is Anna Halprin.

Spotlighting the progressive interpretation of dance on many levels, the film also highlights Halprin’s controversial use of nudity in dance performance, and her establishment of the first multiracial dance company in the 1960s. Her range of efforts includes the use of expressive arts in healing, and the demonstration of social and political commitment through dance. Some of the most compelling and revealing segments of the film involve interviews with Anna Halprin’s husband, renowned architect Lawrence Halprin, and her two daughters Daria and Rana.

In addition to performances and discussions, the viewer is also brought into Halprin’s interactive sessions with both young and old that promotes contemplation, health, and joy. The combination of rich content and skillfully integrated audio and visual sources illustrates Anna Halprin’s statement, “I have an enduring love for dance and its power to teach, inspire, heal and transform.”

This film is recommended for high school through adult viewers, and supports instruction and research in dance, aging studies, social history, and expressive arts therapy. Highly recommended.

Awards

  • Voted Best Documentary Film 2010 by DANCE MAGAZINE