Statement by Co-Founder Daria Halprin
There is an essential connection between art and life which can facilitate healing and change. We are interested in a new aesthetic that reflects the here and now reality of peoples' authentic life experiences, rather than a beauty based on form or technique. For us it is our real life experiences that feed our art, and our art that informs the real issues in our lives. We call this the Life-Art Process.

The Life-Art Process developed at Tamalpa Institute, is an integrated approach that explores the wisdom of the body expressed through movement/dance and imagination. We use artistic processes and media to explore and deepen our relationship to psychological life, to social issues and to creativity itself.

The foundation of our approach is based on a view of the body and movement. The body holds our entire life experience. We understand movement as the body's primary language. For us movement is synonymous with life. Movement is personality and soul made visible; and dance is body, feelings and imagination in motion. We believe that movement/dance is for all people a way to live a more embodied and creative life. Movement/Dance is a way to connect deeply and authentically; to express the full range of human emotion. The philosophy of our work is based on the following principles:
  • Our bodies are vehicles of awareness.

  • There is a relationship and interplay between the physical body, emotions, and mental/imaginal realms.

  • Body sensations, postures, and gestures reflect our history, our culture and our current ways of being.

  • When we engage in expressive movement/dance and the expressive arts, the ongoing themes and patterns from our lives are revealed.

  • When we work on our art (a dance, drawing, poem, song or performance), we are also working on something in our lives.

  • The symbols we create in our art contain valuable messages which speak to the circumstances of our lives.

  • The ways we work as artists teach us about the ways we relate to ourselves, others, and the world.

  • When we enact positive visions through our art, we create images and models that can become guiding forces in our lives.

  • It is in our art that we find expression for that which disturbs us and for that which we want to celebrate. As we learn how to work with the principles of creativity and the practice of the arts, we are able to apply what we learn to all aspects of our lives.

We live in a world challenged by a widening gap between those with great resources and those with few. Conflicts over economic, educational, racial, and religious differences threaten our shared earth and humanity. With technological forms of communication and information increasing exponentially, and the ever-growing ecological waste of our precious natural resources, we must ask ourselves how we can live differently.

Now more than ever before the interface of art and healing is of paramount importance. The healing arts must be fostered, protected, and passed on as one of humanity's most significant legacies and bodies of knowledge. When so much of our communication and learning occurs through computer technologies, disembodied living seems ever more inevitable. As our technological capacities grow, we are looking for ways to reconnect with our bodies, our creativity, and our souls.

We believe that movement and the expressive arts can play an essential role in the healing of our world. We believe that movement and the expressive arts are essential to embodied learning and change. We believe that art is essential to our quality of life. We believe that art should not be relegated in our culture to a secondary position, an extracurricular activity or commodity measured by its value as entertainment in the marketplace. For us the arts are a powerful way to provoke inquiry, communicate knowledge, inspire understanding and transform society.

The body, movement, and art all call us into an active and creative relationship with ourselves, with one another, and with the world. The integration of the body, movement, art, and healing, an embodied life-art process, is our ethical criteria for a sustainable life. We believe that a life-art process that speaks to and expresses the real and compelling needs of individuals and communities is a new paradigm for education, therapy and social action.

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