My review in the Chronicle:
“The seminal landscape architect Lawrence Halprin is 92; his wife of 68 years, the pioneering postmodern choreographer Anna Halprin, is 88. Sunday morning they sat side by side on the stage of Stern Grove, the stunning Greek-inspired amphitheater of rough-hewn granite and towering eucalyptus that Lawrence designed, to watch “Spirit of Place,” a dance Anna has described as “something I wanted to do for Larry.”
For onlookers who descended the ravine in a light rain, this Dancers’ Group commission was also a gift, an education in looking and hearing and being, from two creative minds who have spent their lifetimes doing all three with unflagging intensity.
The chief challenge of creating a dance for Stern Grove, Anna Halprin explained in a pre-performance talk, was the majestic scale; her solution came from the toe-to-finger energy of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man.” As performers in white animal masks peeked from the upper forest like curious ancient spirits, dancers in bright red and yellow traversed the hillside and the grassy terraces in a streaming diagonal. Undressing to subtler hues, they began in tai chi-inspired movements that evolved into faun-like sideways-blade hands.
The reaching grew into falling and collapsing, then escalated to rolling that defied gravity to move up the stone bleachers, and left bodies hanging against rock. All the while, joggers and children and people with dogs – quickly revealed as planted performers – passed through, the grove going about its daily hubbub. Then the monumental Korean vocalist Dohee Lee let out a hypnotizing scream. A woman from the stage – another plant – answered in warbles and yips.”
Click here for the full review.
And a CORRECTION: The text above reads “Sunday,” which is when the event took place. But the published review read “Saturday,” which was purely a slip of my brain. I’ve been pushing to the finish line with graduate school work lately, writing day and night to meet final semester deadlines. I’m a bit overworked, but this is no excuse. I’m sorry to have muddied the historical record.