Mapping Dance: The Scores of Anna Halprin

Anna Halprin’s diverse career in dance has spanned more than 75 years. Since her arrival in San Francisco in 1945, Halprin (1920- ) has challenged and expanded popular conceptions of art, developing some of the most groundbreaking and influential performance works of the 20th century. Halprin’s dances have defied obscenity laws, confronted race relations, upended theatrical traditions, and redened dance itself.

As an alternative to set choreography, Halprin has developed unique methods of dance scoring. Her dance scores communicate the essential spatial, temporal, and physical instructions for each performance work. These two-dimensional renderings of her movement ideas and choreographic structures are designed in ways that inspire users to apply their own creative sensibilities to embodying and carrying out their instructions. Halprin’s dance scores are simultaneously structured and fluid. They exist as records of Halprin’s creative activity and serve as the impetus for new productions. Many scores are working documents, and Halprin continues to stage new iterations of her performance works.

The scores display a dynamic range of content, size, medium, and artistic style. This exhibit charts the exceptional breadth and diversity of Halprin’s work with dance scoring since the late 1950s.



This online exhibit is sponsored in part by a grant from Grants for the Arts and is based on a previous exhibition curated by Elliot Mercer and Muriel Maffre and funded in part by Grants for the Arts and The Fleishhacker Foundation. Special thanks to Anna Halprin, Stephanie Earle, Sherri Mills and Jamie Lyons for their generous help with the original exhibition.