Dance Is the Breath Made Visible—Anna Halprin

June 16, 2010

“Healing is an inner journey and as individuals we have to personally engage in that process.” When dancer and choreographer, Anna Halprin spoke those words at the 2001 Feldenkrais Conference her words reinforced my conviction that personal responsibility is a major component in healing.
Anna Halprin went on to tell us that she developed expressive art therapy out of personal need. She discovered that she had cancer and despite aggressive treatment that included an operation to remove her bowel she had a recurrence several years later. At that time Anna decided against regular treatment and instead began to experiment with herself. She believed that art should be reflective of one’s unique emotional state and that if expressed would have a healing effect on the body. Anna began by making a painting of her inner landscape and then she went on to express the painting in dance. Over a period of a few months her painting and dancing began to change reflecting the internal process that was at work. I can’t remember how long she said it took but some months later she was cancer free. Eventually in 1978 she founded the Tamalpa Institute where she invites people, many who have never danced or painted before, on a healing journey.



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