Dual 'Sea Ranch' Celebration

Hoopla for community's 50th anniversary—and 95th birthday of its most famous dancer
Sea Ranch Celebration
Sea Ranch is now celebrating its 50th anniversary. Pictured here: That community's Condo One hangs out above the Pacific coast. Photo: Dave Weinstein
Sea Ranch Celebration
Anna Halprin (center), 95 years young, teaching a class on her famous Marin dance deck. Photo: David Toerge

The Sea Ranch, the master-planned Sonoma Coast community that blends wild nature with modern architecture, and one of its most famous residents are marking important milestones this spring—and the public can help them celebrate.

Sea Ranch's 50th anniversary will be celebrated on May 9 with a tour of some of the modern homes that created a whole new style of architecture, the 'Sea Ranch' style, which was imitated in beach houses and condo complexes worldwide.

And Anna Halprin, the legendary Bay Area choreographer who performed on the Sea Ranch beach and who has had a residence there since Sea Ranch was built, will celebrate her 95th birthday with performances in May, June, and July.

Anna's husband, the late Larry Halprin, was one of the chief creative forces behind the Sea Ranch, master-planning its landscape to preserve large outdoor 'rooms' of open fields beside clusters of homes half hidden by hedgerows of Monterey cypress trees.

Anna Halprin too played an inspirational role in the design of the mostly vacation home community, collaborating with her husband on summer workshops there that had design students create cities of driftwood on the beach, bringing ideas of movement to the fore that were used by Larry and others in designs for the community.

"Choreography was a really big part of our consciousness," Donlyn Lyndon, one of the original Sea Ranch architects, told a gathering a year ago, "because of Anna Halpin, and Larry."

"How you move was something she was very conscious of, obviously," he said, "the importance of everyday movement."

The self-guided tour of eight to ten Sea Ranch homes runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday May 9. The Architectural Tour Wine Tasting & Auction is presented by Soroptimist International of Mendocino-Sonoma Coast. It is a rare chance for outsiders to get up close and personal with this community. The wine tasting and auction follow the tour.

Events honoring Anna Halprin will take place worldwide, according to the Tamalpa Institute, which is coordinating.

In the Bay Area, the events include, on May 16, 'What Matters to Us: A Reenactment of Anna Halprin's Blank Placard Dance - Mission District, San Francisco,' with public participation; June 7, 'Planetary Dance - Marin County, California,' described as "a participatory event rather than a performance," and also open to the public; and July 12, 'Anna Halprin's Birthday Performance Celebration.'

The third event will be at Anna Halprin's famous Mountain Home Studio in Marin County, with a dance deck designed by Larry Halprin. It will include a solo dance by Anna plus other performances, guest artists, live music, and, of course, dancing. Limited tickets are available starting May 16 by contacting office@tamalpa.org.

For more on the Sea Ranch tour, click here. For more on the Anna Halprin events, click here.