Mapping Dance Exhibition
In the mid-1950s, Halprin began to reject the idea of choreography as a series of fixed movement phrases. Searching for a new working process, she re-examined the theatrical elements available to her and reconceptualized her role as choreographer. Through her collaborations with experimental composers, visual artists, and poets, Halprin invented new possibilities for dance. These dance works employed novel compositional structures, setting up situations in which the performers collectively undertook unconventional movement tasks. The performances were risky, spontaneous, and constantly evolving. While presented in traditional performance venues, Halprin’s new dances eschewed traditional sensibilities. It was during the creation of these works that Halprin developed and honed her concept of dance scoring.
Attendees of Halprin’s experimental performances during the 1960s occasionally responded loudly and violently. Not intending to provoke her audiences, Halprin realized she needed to cultivate her spectators as much as she did her dancers. To do this, Halprin crafted public participatory performance works that explored the relationship between audience and performer, developing a partnership where there had been a divide. People of all ages and backgrounds were invited to participate alongside members of San Francisco Dancers’ Workshop in evenings of mutual creation. Through these performance events, Halprin reframed the role of the artist as a guide whose responsibility is to evoke the art within others. Beginning with Myths (1967) and continuing through the annual City Dance events of the 1970s, Halprin brought the public into her dance-making practice.
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