CriticalDance Forum

New book on Twyla Tharp
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Author:  LMCtech [ Fri Apr 07, 2006 11:28 am ]
Post subject:  New book on Twyla Tharp

Reviewed in the SF Chronicle.

Twyla Tharp, always on the move, in many idioms

Reviewed by Christine Temin

Friday, April 7, 2006

The era was the '60s. The place was the Judson Memorial Church in New York's Greenwich Village. Among the players was a young choreographer, just out of college, with the curious name of Twyla Tharp. Among the observers was a young dance critic, Marcia Siegel, with sharp eyes and an ability to make fine distinctions among various strands of dance.

Siegel witnessed Tharp's entire career, starting with the choreographer's early participation in the puritanical Judson movement, where dancing to music was considered virtually sinful -- as was dance training, especially ballet. In her biography of Tharp, "Howling Near Heaven," Siegel takes us from that stripped-down start through the gradual glamorization of a choreographer who put her own company on stage alongside the Joffrey Ballet for the 1973 "Deuce Coupe" -- music by the Beach Boys, backdrop of graffiti -- which was a landmark in "crossover" choreography, a genre in which a modern dancer creates works for ballet troupes.


Author:  S. E. Arnold [ Fri Apr 14, 2006 2:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Impressions of M. B. Siegel's "Howling Near Heaven"

In a dance history class not so very long ago, Marcia Siegel asked her students, “How do we know George Balanchine?” The bibliographic fusillade that met the question, however, missed completely. “It is through his works,” Siegel softly answered. If one understands this example to illustrate the idea that a person’s works or deeds best compose the picture of their life, then one gets insight into Tharp’s credo as cited by Siegel in “Howling Near Heaven” that “aesthetics and ethics are one.”

Creating a dance that imagines “Surfing on the River Styx” or a book that imagines the choreographer as “Howling Near Heaven” describes a personality with a will powerful enough to seemingly outwit mere hubris and to rival natural forces. The Tharp pictured in “Howling Near Heaven” is dynamic. She is always inventing, rejecting, creating, destroying, sometimes failing, and ever demanding. Yet like the weather (and just as fickle), she goes on. And, one thinks, that it took Siegel’s thoughtful and incisive style to hold the whirling Tharp still long enough for readers (and perhaps Tharp too) to see the choices she made and makes in her life and art in a manageable perspective.

Author:  kurinuku [ Sun Apr 16, 2006 2:22 am ]
Post subject: 

Revolutionary Movement
review by JENNIFER HOMANS for the New York Times

IF Twyla Tharp were an automobile, she'd be a 1960's Jaguar: fast, stylish, high profile . . . and unreliable.

published: April 16, 2006

Author:  kurinuku [ Tue May 16, 2006 1:38 pm ]
Post subject: 

Twyla Tharp: Influential but Not Always Appreciated
by GIA KOURLAS for the New York Times

One night in December, when cabs were scarce, a couple boarded a bicycle taxi — a reasonable sign that they were tourists. While waiting for the light to change, they asked their driver one of those questions that drives a dance critic batty: "What's the name of that Billy Joel musical?"

There was a split-second choice to be made: to explain that "Movin' Out" was three days away from closing on Broadway, which would have been helpful, or to correct a grating misapprehension. As the driver began to pedal away, I yelled, "You mean Twyla Tharp!" They half-turned, mystified, as my boyfriend peered at the gutter in mortification. But standing up for Ms. Tharp, a hugely influential and occasionally underappreciated choreographer and director, is a responsibility.

published: May 6, 2006

Author:  ncgnet [ Thu Jun 29, 2006 7:16 am ]
Post subject: 

In the Boston Phoenix, a excerpt from Marcia Siegel's book:
Great music, great dance
Getting inside Twyla Tharp’s Deuce Coupe

Deuce Coupe was probably the first ballet accompanied by pop records. The Joffrey’s previous scores had included modern composers (Paul Creston, Lou Harrison, David Diamond), contemporary symphonic works with a jazz influence (Morton Gould), third-stream jazz (Kenyon Hopkins, Teo Macero), and the made-to-order rock of Astarte and Trinity. All of these had acceptably artistic dimensions. It was exactly the familiarity of the Beach Boys, their not being art, that was such an asset to Deuce Coupe.


Author:  kurinuku [ Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:30 am ]
Post subject: 

One I missed earlier.

`Howling Near Heaven' tells Twyla Tharp's story
by MARY CAMPBELL for the Chicago Tribune by Associated Press

Author Marcia B. Siegel, a dance critic for several publications, isn't fooling around with Tharp's childhood or even her year of dancing for Paul Taylor. She starts the book in 1966 with the first of three concerts by Twyla Tharp and Company at the Judson Memorial Church in New York's Greenwich Village. And she takes it up to "Movin' Out," the show featuring the Tharp company dancing to Billy Joel's songs, which became a hit on Broadway in 2002 and on tour.

published: July 7, 2006

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