Marfa Live Arts to host dance piece in Antelope Hills
MARFA — Marfa Live Arts will host Marfa Sounding: Anna Halprin on Friday-Sunday, May 26-28, 2017 over the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend in Marfa. The program will present four free events through a series of performances, films, talks, and workshops focusing on the influence of choreographer and artist Anna Halprin.
Over her long career that began in the 1930s, Halprin created more than 150 dance theater works and wrote three books. Richard Schechner, editor of TDR: The Drama Review, calls her “one of the most important and original thinkers in performance.” Still working at age 96, Halprin has advised the development of this weekend-long program, but is unable to make the trip to Marfa to attend.
Halprin sought to unravel entrenched power dynamics by foregrounding the simplicity of task-based actions alongside the performer’s real experiences and emotional history. As Halprin explains in an interview with her former student Yvonne Rainer, such work introduced a radical idea of dance as the “rhythmic phenomena of the human being reacting to the environment.”
The Marfa Sounding: Anna Halprin program launches on Friday, May 26 with an introduction to the weekend by curator Jennifer Burris Staton and Nina Martin, PhD of the Lower Left performance collective and screenings of two Jacqueline Caux films at the Crowley Theater at 7pm. On Saturday, May 27, again at the Crowley Theater, from 11am-12pm Martin, an Associate Professor at TCU School for Classical & Contemporary Dance, will lead a community dance and movement workshop. Saturday night, May 27, Marfa Live Arts will host a reception with tours at Building 98 beginning at 6pm. Dancer Stephen Petronio will perform in the historic building bringing to life Anna Halprin’s solo The Courtesan and the Crone (1999) followed by a Q&A. That night there will also be screenings of Kevin Hayden’s film, Between Stephen and Yvonne and Andy Abrahams Wilson’s Anna Halprin – Embracing Earth.
The weekend will conclude on Sunday, May 28, with the premiere of a new work by Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener accompanied by musician Phillip Greenlief on Fieldwork Marfa’s Antelope Hills Land from 7pm-Sunset. Contemporary choreographers and dancers Mitchell and Riener met as dancers in the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. On their shared ideologies and collaborative works, Mitchell explains “We discovered that we really complement each other physically as well as mentally and artistically,” (quoted in an article by Jennifer Stahl, Dance Magazine).
Mitchell’s and Riener’s new composition in relation to the Marfa landscape is inspired by architect, writer, and philosopher Claude Bragdon. Bragdon’s belief in the individual’s role serving the group, as well as his ideas about progressive architecture modeled after forms found in nature and the power of proportion and mathematical patterns, have led the dancers and choreographers to an engagement with the philosopher’s “system of thought, which discovers correlations between things apparently unrelated, and as a life, or system of training whereby it is possible to gain the power to perceive and use these correlations towards worthy ends.” Mitchell and Riener apply these ideas to a physical improvisation practice—a way to consider becoming more than human—incorporating elements of the world around us in order to be closer and more integrated with our world at large.
All Marfa Sounding: Anna Halprin programs will be free and open to the public. A full schedule will be printed in maps distributed the week of the event and published online at www.marfalivearts.org.