As part of the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive’s MATRIX program, dancer and choreographer Anna Halprin performs and directs a three-night engagement of her seminal work Parades and Changes February 15, 16, and 17, 2013. The production will serve as the final performances of a work that announced the arrival of postmodern choreography when it was first performed in 1965. A special gallery exhibition, on view from February 15 through April 21, 2013, features scores, photographs, and documentation of the piece from the past forty-seven years.
Parades and Changes is an ensemble piece that exposes the process of creating the performance. The dance revolves around a special set of instructions called a “score,” which include a series of everyday tasks and rituals—unrolling giant sheets of plastic, audience interaction, tearing paper, dressing and undressing. Though nudity is a fairly common sight on dance stages today, the first New York City performance of Parades and Changes in 1967 resulted in a summons for Halprin’s arrest. More recently, when dancers removed their clothes as part of a performance for Performa 09, onlookers barely batted their eyelashes.
This “ceremony of trust,” as Halprin calls it, utilizes dance as a medium for testing modes of collaboration. The elements of change, reflected in the title, extend beyond the dance to the lighting, score, and props, which also vary with each performance. This fundamental malleability of the dance has allowed it to be restaged multiple times in the past forty-seven years yet still remain relevant within the various societal, political, artistic, and physical contexts it has been performed.
Halprin’s Parades and Changes opened the current BAM/PFA facility in 1970, and this final presentation of the work celebrates the history and architecture of the building as the institution prepares to move to a downtown location in late 2015. Joining Halprin for the BAM/PFA performances will be original composer, electronic music pioneer Morton Subotnick, who will perform a live score, and a team of dancers from around the world.