Wednesday 23 Jul

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0

Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0

Kierston White - Don't Write Love Songs

The Tequila Songbirds have become just as beloved as about any group around these parts. And how could they not?

Featuring a revolving cast of the Sooner State’s most badass female performers, it’s a power hour of some of the best songwriting coming out of central Oklahoma. Sure, they might not technically be family, but they are clearly a band of sisters all the same, bonded by the same brand of whiskey running through their veins.

07/01/2014 | Comments 0

Depth & Current - Dysrhythmia

"Overproduced" is a term thrown around all too indiscreetly nowadays, usually applied when the thing that sticks out about a song or album is how it sounds rather than how it is constructed. Yet some of the most compelling albums ever crafted embodied a certain aesthetic that was just as skillfully and meticulously put together as any Bob Dylan or Miles Davis record — which is to say production is as crucial to our enjoyment of music as much as anything else; it's also the most overlooked.
06/24/2014 | Comments 0

Weak Knees - “IceBevo”

Indie rock has been in a good place as of late. Not caring about being cool is the new cool, and a couple of dudes on guitar, bass and drums can make catchy, earworm songs without being armed to the gills with computer software and vintage synthesizers.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · American dance pioneer Anna...

American dance pioneer Anna Halprin's often-controversial career subject of 'Breath Made Visible'

Mike Robertson May 20th, 2010

Art, in its purest form, isn't about money or fans or Facebook liking or even about making sense to anyone in particular. It's about the artist doing whatever he or she feels like to move an inner vis...

Art, in its purest form, isn't about money or fans or Facebook liking or even about making sense to anyone in particular. It's about the artist doing whatever he or she feels like to move an inner vision of reality into the outside world.

Some people paint, some people write, some people sew, and some people even macramé. There's no doubt that art is a therapeutic process that makes those people feel better. On the other hand, there's no guarantee what every artist does will make others feel the same way.

"Breath Made Visible" concerns Anna Halprin, a woman who has been expressing her own inner universe through dance for some 80 years. She says she always loved dancing "just for fun," and that when she was 5 her mother enrolled her in ballet classes. Young Anna didn't have what it took to meet the rigid strictures of classical dance, and so she was laughed out of class. Fortunately, she was living during the early days of modern dance, and was enrolled in a place where she could freestyle to her heart's content and everyone thought she was fantastic.

The documentary screens Friday and Saturday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

As a young woman, Halprin got more involved in modern and interpretive dance, eventually adopting a style that could be described as a sort of kinetic impressionism. Back in the early days, she was interested in telling more or less straight narrative tales with movement, but over time, the stories became progressively abstract, even controversial.

In an especially Jackson Pollock-esque moment, Halprin and crew got international attention by slowly undressing to Petula Clark's "Downtown." Once disrobed, the group would move on to tearing up huge swaths of butcher paper, accompanied by "In My Room" by The Beach Boys. It isn't clear whether it was the popular music that made this compelling back in the '60s or just the bewbz; one supposes it could have been either or both.

The dancing parts in "Breath Made Visible" are actually incidental, serving mostly as an expression of and a means for framing Halprin's personality. As pretentious and downright strange as her work come off at times, one has to admire the absolute sense of importance she holds for herself and her role as an artist.

As the decades go by, she dedicates herself to addressing various social ills such as racism after the Watts riots of 1965, the Vietnam War, the AIDS epidemic in the late '80s, and helping the elderly retain a sense of dignity and liveliness in their waning years.

Even when she's rolling around on a beach wrapped in panty hose, it's obvious that even if what she's doing makes no sense to you, it makes perfect sense to Halprin. This absolute conviction is what makes her what she claims to be, a "pure" artist, breaking every boundary she can find.
There may not be anything especially meaningful on the other side, but it's entertaining to watch her nonetheless. "Mike Robertson
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