Twyla Tharp is widely regarded as one of the most influential choreographers and dancers of our time. From a young age, she had a passion for dance that enabled her to create energetic and unique art pieces. She has been credited with redefining the way people view dance in modern culture.
This poster helps explain how and why.
by David Stone
The Roosevelt Island Daily News
Twyla Tharp was born in Portland, Indiana, in 1941, and discovered her love for dance at age eight.
She began her dance lessons at the Vera Lynn School of Dance in San Bernardino, California. She, then, developed her skills while attending Barnard College. While a student at Barnard, she studied at the American Ballet Theatre School and received instruction from Richard Thomas, Martha Graham, and Merce Cunningham, among others. (Encyclopedia Britannica)
During this time, Tharp developed an eclectic style that blended elements from classical techniques with modern innovations.
Throughout her career, Twyla Tharp created groundbreaking works that have been performed around the world. Her 1974 piece “Deuce Coupe” revolutionized close collaborations between live music and choreography. The Beach Boys performed on stage while the dancers moved to their tunes.
Another popular work is The Catherine Wheel (1981), which incorporated American folk tunes into its complex set of movements. In both pieces, Tharp showcased her remarkable ability to merge diverse genres into a single cohesive form– a feat not seen before in contemporary dance theater.
But seeing is believing…
Tharp, now 81, has also mentored aspiring generations of dancers over the years. She has taught advanced techniques through masterclasses, workshops and other events while inspiring others to be daring yet cautious when performing a new piece or trying something new altogether.
As an artist who reinvented what it means to produce captivating performances on stage, Twyla Tharp left an indelible mark on contemporary dance and culture.
Her revolutionary approach to movement composition and presentation was original and daring. From pushing boundaries through collaboration with renowned musicians to mentoring future generations, Tharp continues a lasting impact all these years later across various art forms around the world