Freie Universität Berlin

What is Parades and Changes?

by Isabell Arnke, Mara Atkins, Sara Schwartz, Tina Rabus

Parades and Changes, a piece created by the choreographer and dance pioneer Anna Halprin (1920-2021), premiered in 1965 in Stockholm[1] and has inspired choreographer and dancer Anne Collod to reinterpret and replay it.

One of the qualities Parades and Changes provides is the shifting of focus on the inbetween of daily and theatrical gestures [2].

Another one is the removal of clothing as a symbolic act. The included nudity of the piece led to a scandal in it´s 1967 performance in New York. As a consequence the piece was banned for twenty-five years in the United States.[3]

The performance of Parades and Changes is a result of experimentation, based on a series of scores by Anna Halprin.[4] It was the first of her pieces which was structured by scoring instead of choreographing.[5] This score is the baseline for interpretation, spontaneity, flexibility, and freedom. It also presented the opportunity of bringing different artists and artforms together.[6] Moreover, the cast was changed in every restaging and consisted of people from diverse ethnical, racial and cultural backgrounds.

Premiere cast:

Cf. Ross, Janice: Anna Halprin: Experience as Dance, Berkley and Los Angeles, California (University of California Press), 2007, p. 183. 

As a result, each performance of Parades and Changes is unique. The individual sections of the score may vary in their order. The following illustration presents the different sections of the piece.

The following videos, audio file and scores are interpretations through researching on the question of ‘What is Parades and Changes?’. They show different approaches of dealing with the question, by following and reinterpreting the traces of Parades and Changes, trying to close in on its essence. The focus of these interpretations lies on the aspects of rearrangement, everyday movement, and the multitude of levels involved in the performance.

Video inspired by the traces of Parades and Changes:

Audio inspired by the traces of Parades and Changes:

Scores inspired by the traces of Parades and Changes:

This is a selection of scores inspired by the un-/dressing section and Parades of costumes. You are invited to try them out.

Scores in Anna and Lawrence Halprin’s works played a major role in generating movement and performance material. As mentioned above, Halprin’s scores were defined by the balance between restrictions and freedom, spontaneity, and flexibility. These two scores deal with the sensations the body experiences when it gets in contact with objects and their materials.

First score

Go to your closet and grab the first piece of clothing that catches your eye.

Put it over your current clothes.

How does this change your perception of your body?

Get out another piece of clothing and put it on as well.

And one more.

Start moving with small movements.

The movements get bigger and bigger and you move around the room.

How does it feel?

Now stop the movement.

Take off the extra clothes until you are dressed as you started.

Start moving again with small movements.

And the movements get bigger.

Do you feel the difference?

Second Score

Observe the objects on your table and in your room. Choose the one that strikes you the most. How does it smell and feel in your hands if you can grab it? Which shape does it have? Is it loaded with memories of everyday life or of a special experience, something that evokes feelings in you?

Now change the perspective. Imagine you were the object. Illustrate that picture in your mind of how you look from the observing position of the object. How does it feel when somebody touches, grabs and lifts you? Is it comfortable or do you have the feeling of being treated carelessly? Maybe somebody throws you through the room or drops you on the floor. Is it painful?

Set yourself a timer for 10 minutes. 

Let your previous thoughts and images lead you to move like an object… a human object. Take time to transfer your thoughts to your moving body. Do you include a different movement quality? More challenging or a natural flow? 

Improvise until your timer takes you back to your usual body.

Video inspired by the traces of Parades and Changes:

Additional info

Anne Collod’s work on the pieces of Anna Halprin started in 2003 when she went to California to meet and ask her for authorization to recreate Parades and Changes. She was then invited to dance for Anna Halprin at the Paris’ Festival d’Automne in 2004 and after that to participate in Halprin´s improvisation collective at Sea Ranch in California in 2005.[7] Collod continued the process of investigation and choreographic explorations for years, based on the traces of Parades and Changes she found in Anna Halprin’s archives and through intensive discussions with her and Morton Subotnick. The premiere of her replay of Parades and Changes was performed at the Biennale de la Danse de Lyon (France) in 2008.

This year, in summer 2021, Anne Collod taught the Valeska Gert Guest Professorship Disruptive Constellations – Practices of Reinterpretation at the Freie Universität Berlin. We as students dived into the world of archival work and dealt with questions of how the traces of Parades and Changes could be an inspiration, a starting point to re-think and re-play it. Our group worked on the question What is Parades and Changes and the following pieces are the results of our research. This researching process includes information predominantly from Anne Collod’s materials and visualizations of her replay provided by her, as well as Ross’s book Anna Halprin: Experience as Dance, and interviews with Halprin from the internet. The collective research not only gave us the opportunity to understand how Collod approached Halprin’s work it also encouraged us to create our own reinterpretations in various forms.

[1] Cf. Hunt, Mary Ellen (2013): “>Parades and Changes<: Anna Halprin”, [21.06.2021].

[2] Cf. Hervieu, Dominique (Hg.): “PARADES & CHANGES, REPLAYS”, [21.06.2021].

[3] Cf. Collod, Anne (2016): “parades & changes, replays – parades & changes, replay in expansion”, [21.06.2021].

[4] Cf. Hervieu, Dominique (Hg.): “PARADES & CHANGES, REPLAYS”, [21.06.2021].

[5] Cf. Museum of Performance + Design (Hg.): “Biography”, [19.06.2021].

[6] Cf. Hervieu, Dominique (Hg.): “PARADES & CHANGES, REPLAYS”, [21.06.2021].

[7] Cf. Collod, Anne: parades & changes, replays (2008): re-interpretation of Anna Halprin’s Parades & Changes (1965), Paris 2008, p. 6.

In addition, this article is based on the information we received from Anne Collod during the Valeska Gert Guest Professorship Disruptive Constellations – Practices of Reinterpretation.