I agreed immediately. For three years I had been wanting to make a film about Anna and her life. I found her idea for this film thrilling: to break through the stereotypes about getting older, and to empower the elderly. These were her main goals when she began working with the seniors who would eventually be "rocking".
Anna works very systematically in a workshop form. The biggest challenge for me was to faithfully show this in a film while making it interesting for viewers. I decided that the best way would be to take a very close look at all the details, in order to discover every little thing that happened--because it is the little things and happenings in Anna’s work that are important. So, we brought some first-class cameras and a big jib arm with us, and started working. I think that our meticulousness really paid off.
With this group of approximately fifty so-called non-dancers aged 65 to 100, Anna lets
dancing take off in SENIORS ROCKING–and takes it away from star-studded stages
and towards all of us who think we can no longer dance. Her message is simple:
dancing is for everyone, wherever we are, however old we are, and whatever state we
SENIORS ROCKING also portrays one of Anna’s most notable traits: the way she tries to fathom her own life through working with her co-performers and workshop participants. At the age of 86, one of her most important concerns is her legacy, "what
shall I leave behind me as a dancer and performer?", she asked. "After I have gone, will
my art be gone as well? The works of great painters and composers last a lot longer
than their lives do -- what kind of a legacy can I leave?"
Anna wanted to find her own legacy, together with her peers. So she asked everyone
taking part in SENIORS ROCKING what they thought was the most important thing in
life: "What do you want to pass on? It has nothing to do with money or when is the time
to go. What I mean is: what message from the heart do you want to leave behind to your
friends and family?" By combining all her co-performers' responses, Anna has put
together a real work of art, and one that is faithful to her own aesthetic of expressing personally fundamental life issues in artistic form.
This issue of legacy struck a chord in me. I went to Anna and said: "Anna, I have to make a film about your entire life and your legacy." And, after balking at this idea for years, she finally came around. This is how the feature film about Anna, BREATH MADE
VISIBLE, came to be made. SENIORS ROCKING also opened my eyes to the highly important issue of how to
remain creative as you grow older. Anna Halprin is the best walking (and dancing!) example I know of how to do so. She is also a fantastic role model for realizing your
fullest potential–not only how she does so herself, but how she helps others to do so as
well. This is exactly what inspires me so much about SENIORS ROCKING.