The Halprin Method/Motional Processing/Life Art Process is considered a movement-based expressive arts modality. In the process, movement is used as an exploration device for body parts, themes, drawings and scripts. Movement takes what begins on the inside and gives it an avenue to the outside. Movement in the life art process uses exploration and experimentation as the basis of understanding a body part, script, theme or concept. (Rutkowski, 1984)
At its core, movement is used as an examination of an idea or structure through the use of space, time, and force. Through movement rituals 1, 2, and 3, the breath, track – trace – pace, and other methods alone or in combination, participants move to explore and clarify.
Rising and falling
Starting with movement 5 of movement ritual 1 (spiral rotation of the spine), I began a series of movements that explored rising with the focus/impetus from the hips. In rising from a prone position, there are basically three ways to accomplish this. One can sit up, using primarily abdominal muscles. One can move to the side and use the arms to sit up. One can flip/roll over onto the stomach and rise using the arms/shoulders as the impetus. For this exploration I used the side to side momentum of movement five. I increased the range of side-to-side movement by utilizing movement six, spiral spinal leading from the lower body . From this point I expanded movement six to begin to rise up.
Let me explain that, in this type of exploration, I start with the ‘proper way’ of doing the movement and through repetition I expand/contract the movement. This action of expansion/contraction is a way of personalizing the movement so that it reflects who I am. So, for instance, starting with movement 5, I go side-to-side, again and again making the movements bigger and smaller. This process of exploring allows the movement to organically evolve into movement 6. Through repetition and exploration, movement 6 evolves into beginning to rise. The action of exploration in the spiral movements has evolved the impetus from my hips into my arms-shoulders.
Using my arms and shoulders, I moved into a standing posture and explored moving upwards from movement ritual 2. From this point, I expanded the movement into movement ritual 3 and moved through the space exploring rising/risen. In my explorations using movement ritual 2 and 3, I tend to utilize hatha yoga postures and tai chi movements. Using these movements and keeping with the theme of rising and falling, I then moved downward. Since the impetus for this exploration evolved into the arms and shoulders, I kept to this new area of focus and explored moving upwards, now using the arms in a much more focused manner.
Rutkowski, A. (1984). Thesis: Development, definition and demonstration of the Halprin Life/Art Process in Dance Education. Unpublished doctorial dissertation, John F. Kennedy University.
Reprinted from my unpublished manuscript: Renewal and Rediscovery of the Self in the Life Art Process: 20 years as participant, assistant and facilitator. By Richard Brunner R-DMT. Copy write 2006.