PRINT September 2018

Claudia La Rocco

Anna Halprin, Ceremony of Us, 1969. Rehearsal view, Merritt College, Oakland, CA, 1970.

IN THE PHOTOGRAPH, choreographer Anna Halprin and writer John Rockwell lead Halprin’s company, the San Francisco Dancers’ Workshop, in a procession along Market Street. Each participant holds an unmarked sign. Taken by the architect Lawrence Halprin, Anna’s husband and collaborator, the image documents her 1970 performance Blank Placard Dance—a demonstration that doubles as a conceptual invitation for audiences to imagine what words of protest could or should be expressed in that moment.

When I came across the picture in Janice Ross’s thoughtful and thorough book Anna Halprin: Experience as Dance (2007), I recalled another march through the San Francisco streets: Queer Migrants, led by choreographer Keith Hennessy and actor J Jha this past May. This, too, was a protest-cum-performance. The event began outside the US Customs and Border Protection building on Battery Street.

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