Anna Halprin, UW–Madison alumna and ‘transformational force’ in dance, dies at age 100

UW–Madison alumna Anna Halprin, “a dancer and choreographer who sought to move beyond what she saw as the constraints of modern dance,” died on May 24 at age 100.

Anna Halprin
Anna Halprin

Halprin earned her bachelor’s degree from UW–Madison’s Dance Department in 1942. “Ms. Halprin knew her family wanted her to attend college,” explains an obituary for Halprin in the New York Times, so she enrolled at UW–Madison, “which offered a progressive modern-dance curriculum.”

Halprin was a student of Margaret H’Doubler, the founder of UW–Madison’s Dance Department in 1926.

Andrea Harris, an associate professor and chair of the Dance Department, noted that Halprin’s lifelong dedication to H’Doubler’s philosophy, “that dance education would enrich the lives of all people,” changed the course of American modern dance.

Halprin was “a transformational force in many areas of dance in the second half of the 20th century, including dance for children, the avant-garde dance movement of the 1960s and ‘70s, dance for social change, and the establishment of the field of dance therapy,” Harris said.

Read more about Halprin’s remarkable life and work in the New York Times and at