The Wall Street Journal
“When—particularly in the skittery, presto first movement—Ms. Tharp has created quicksilver dancing involving fleet, fancy footwork and active limbs that shoot out sharply, the dancers can seem like so many sparking cinders…All three dances are unmistakably Tharpian. The newest impressively plumbs the artistry of the dancers from whom it was especially created, continuing the choreographer’s command of her art.”
The New York Times
“These are unmistakably the work of a master. There is so much in them: so much variety, so much life…‘Preludes and Fugues’ is set to Bach’s encyclopedic “Well-Tempered Clavier,” and although Ms. Tharp doesn’t include a prelude and fugue from every key, as Bach did, her choreography does encompass heavy slowness and floor-skimming speed, the simple and the complex, foreground and background, comedy and despair, flirtatious sparring and romantic surrender, moves from ballet and moves from sports, in sequence and at the same time.”
Gotham (For Minimalism and Me)
“Twyla Tharp returns to the stage this season at the Joyce Theater in Chelsea, proving once again that she is—always has been, always will be—an artist to be reckoned with…From her first choreographed dance—essentially one pose held for many minutes—to The Fugue—her foundational dance from 1970, which she calls her Opus One—to the jocular Jelly Roll—a delight that had the audience laughing aloud, Minimalism and Me is Tharp as we’ve never seen her. This show is Tharp through her own eyes.”
The Wall Street Journal (For Minimalism and Me)
“The white-haired, 77-year-old choreographer, dressed in white oxfords, slacks and top, and wearing delicate dangle earring and red-framed glasses, launches her show by taking the center of a stage backed by a projection of a painted-papyrus image of the Egyptian goddess Nut…Tharp’s creations now stands at 129 dances, 12 television specials, five Hollywood movies, four full-length ballets, four Broadway shows and two-figure skating routines. ‘Minimalism and Me’ stresses her beginnings…With ‘Minimalis[m] and Me,’ the dance-maker has taken us from her choreographic beginnings to 1971, now 47 years ago; if she’s got “Beyond Minimalism” up her sleeve, there’s no telling how that will be shaped.”
The Boston Globe (For Minimalism and Me)
“…illuminating and essential…”
Hollywood SOAPBOX (For Minimalism and Me)
“Twyla Tharp is one of the most exciting and original choreographers in American history, and she is proving that statement true with her new retrospective piece, Minimalism and Me, now playing an engagement at New York City’s Joyce Theatre…The audience hears Tharp tell tales of her personal motivations behind choreographing these early pieces, all of them seemingly simple and based in the artistic minimalism of the day. Then a cadre of dancers brings these routines to life, often in excerpt form, resurrecting not only the dance steps (or lack thereof) but also the sensibility of a choreographer finding her dance voice at the start of what will be an illustrious career.”
Since graduating from Barnard College in 1963, Ms. Tharp has choreographed more than one hundred sixty works: one hundred twenty-nine dances, twelve television specials, six Hollywood movies, four full-length ballets, four Broadway shows and two figure skating routines. She received one Tony Award, two Emmy Awards, nineteen honorary doctorates, the Vietnam Veterans of America President’s Award, the 2004 National Medal of the Arts, the 2008 Jerome Robbins Prize, and a 2008 Kennedy Center Honor. Her many grants include the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
In 1965, Ms. Tharp founded her dance company, Twyla Tharp Dance. Her dances are known for creativity, wit and technical precision coupled with a streetwise nonchalance. By combining different forms of movement – such as jazz, ballet, boxing and inventions of her own making – Ms. Tharp’s work expands the boundaries of ballet and modern dance.
In addition to choreographing for her own company, she has created dances for The Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The Paris Opera Ballet, The Royal Ballet, New York City Ballet, The Boston Ballet, The Mariinsky, Bolshoi Ballet, The Australian Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Martha Graham Dance Company, Miami City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Today, ballet and dance companies around the world continue to perform Ms. Tharp’s works.
Ms. Tharp’s work first appeared on Broadway in 1980 with WHEN WE WERE VERY YOUNG, followed by her collaboration with musician David Byrne on THE CATHERINE WHEEL and later by SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN. In 2002, Ms. Tharp’s dance musical MOVIN’ OUT, set to the music and lyrics of Billy Joel. Ms. Tharp later worked with Bob Dylan’s music and lyrics in THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’ and COME FLY AWAY, set to songs sung by Frank Sinatra.
In film, Ms. Tharp has collaborated with director Milos Forman on HAIR, RAGTIME and AMADEUS. She has also worked with Taylor Hackford on WHITE NIGHTS and James Brooks on I’LL DO ANYTHING.
Her television credits include choreographing SUE’S LEG for the inaugural episode of PBS’ DANCE IN AMERICA IN 1976, co-producing and directing MAKING TELEVISION DANCE, and directing THE CATHERINE WHEEL for BBC Television. Ms. Tharp co-directed the television special BARYSHNIKOV BY THARP.
In 1992, Ms. Tharp published her autobiography PUSH COMES TO SHOVE. She went on to write THE CREATIVE HABIT: Learn it and Use it for Life, followed by THE COLLABORATIVE HABIT: Life Lessons for Working Together. In 2019, her fourth book was published, KEEP IT MOVING: LESSONS FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
Today, Ms. Tharp continues to create.