“There was no chance in Parades and Changes,” recalls composer Morton Subotnick. “Everything was done by choice, but there was a freedom in choice.”
First performed in 1965, Anna Halprin'sParades and Changes pioneered the use of everyday movements and domestic rituals in dance, marking the onset of postmodern choreography. The dance revolves around a set of mundane tasks—unrolling giant sheets of plastic, stomping, interacting with the audience, handling objects, tearing paper, dressing and undressing. MATRIX 246presents the final performances of Parades and Changes and displays scores, photographs, and other documentation of the history of the dance. (Click here to view scheduled performances and buy tickets.)
Before each staging of Parades and Changes, Halprin shuffles index cards that contain separate instructions for the dancers, crew, lighting and scenic designers, composers, and even the audience, and then posts the results. With so much left unrehearsed, each performance is an exercise in collaborative problem solving. Responses to the dance have varied from an outright ban on the work by the New York City Police Department in 1967 to adoring fan mail from a cattle farmer in Sweden.
Parades and Changes opened the current BAM/PFA facility more than forty years ago, and the new production—Halprin’s final staging of the piece—celebrates the architecture and history of our building as we prepare to move to our new downtown location in 2015.