September 10th, 2008 | by HEATHER WISNER News | Posted In: CLEAN UP

TBA DIARY: Halprin in the Hay

     
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8 pm Tuesday, Whitsell Auditorium: "Documenting Dance."

Anna Halprin and Véronique Doisneau are both dancers, but the similarities pretty much end there. TBA's “Documenting Dance: Three Films" (shown Monday and Tuesday at the Portland Art Museum's Whitsell Auditorium) profiled both, since each had a connection to the festival. Doisneau, a member of the Paris Opera Ballet's corps, got that great stage to herself on the eve of her retirement at age 42: In a piece directed by TBA guest Jerome Bel, she spoke frankly to the audience about what it's like to spend much of one's career as moving scenery. Swan Lake, she said, made her want to scream, since corps members must hold poses for long periods while the star dances to some of the most delicious music in ballet. She demonstrated, accompanied by a recording, a lone swan in a passage both comic and heartbreaking. The 80-something Halprin, whose work has been revived for this year's festival, was the subject of two films; the first showed her breaking artistic taboos in the '50s and ‘60s with nude interracial performances, and refuting belief systems as “make-believe”—something to overcome through the more universal truth of kinesthetics. In the second, she returned to her first love—nature—by covering herself with its detrius and dancing in its environs. Watching Halprin smear herself with mud for 20 minutes was a little like an endurance test, but seeing her bound in hay and scampering off into a field, shouting and gesturing like a deranged scarecrow, was worth the price of admission.
Read more diaries from the 2008 TBA Festival here.
 
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