The latest from Twyla Tharp

June 11, 2008
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The pride of Portland, Indiana, choreographer Twyla Tharp premiered a new work, “Rabbit and Rogue” with the American Ballet Theatre last week, earning a range of reviews from enthusiasm to dismissal .

In reading them, I was taken back to Tharp’s own inspiring words on creativity, success and failure, which you can listen to in a brief clip here.

Given most of us aren’t there to see Tharp’s latest work, I thought I’d offer up a look at some of her previous creations.

Here’s “Ballet in the Upper Room,” set to Philip Glass music.

And the Broadway cast of her Billy Joel-fueled “Movin’ Out.” (You’ll need to go about two minutes into the clip).

And her opening sequence for the film version of "Hair."

Your thoughts?
  • First I listened to the clip on creativity - what an encouraging chat - couple of things: 1) creativity for the pure reasons - to put something of yourself out there for others - to explore an idea - to add beauty to our world 2) the permission to fail - to try, try try again and the permission to celebrate SUCCESS - ours and others'.

    Then I took time during my lunch to watch the Ballet in the Upper Room clip. The beauty of the music and movement was meditative - my shoulders dropped away from my ears (desk work:) my breathing slowed and a sense of awe at composed grace took over. I began to imagine what it would feel like to move like the dancers as they floated to the music.

    Thanks for the respite from the busy-ness of the day - both savorings added to my delight of this summer's day. Lou, keep on prompting us to step outside our little boxes and experience the art world in new ways. You know it takes repeated promptings to get most of moving into newer territories.
  • Thanks, Lou for featuring Twyla, and for the links. I was very fortunate to have seen her dance with her company in the 1970's. What an extraordinary talent - she radically changed all of our aesthetics of what was possible on stage, and our perception of time, space and the limits of the human body. She is a huge inspiration to me, and continues to be as she seeks to constantly re-define herself and take chances in the professional worlds of Broadway and Ballet.
    David Hochoy
  • Ballet in the Upper Room exemplifies my favorite type of dance. This piece retains some of the elements of classical ballet, the point work, the pas de deux, the semblance of a corps de ballet and then stretches out the formal boundaries of classical dance with less formal costuming, freer movement, and fluid choreography. The music was like water over smooth rocks and I felt satiated and relaxed while listening. The lines were beautiful and the choreography for the men in the background was every bit as fascinating as that of the dancers in the forefront. The movement was brilliantly symmetrically balanced. I loved it. Thanks for the link Lou and for featuring Twyla Tharp, one of my favorite choreographers and a revolutionary in the dance world.

    Laura Kray

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