From the San Jose Mercury News.
Twyla Tharp's life in dance
UC-BERKELEY BEGINS EXTENDED TRIBUTE TO GROUNDBREAKING CHOREOGRAPHER
By Andrew Gilbert
Special to the Mercury News
Article Launched: 10/04/2007 01:40:59 AM PDT
Twyla Tharp was raised for a life on stage, right down to her name.
The fearless choreographer has been at the center of the dance world for almost four decades, forging a spectacular body of work that draws on modern dance, ballet, Broadway and jazz. From her early training with Martha Graham and her first spartan avant-garde pieces that pointedly avoided the use of music, she grew to embrace pop culture, creating some of nation's best-loved dances to a century's worth of American popular music, from the Harlem stride piano of Willie "The Lion" Smith to Frank Sinatra and the Beach Boys.
She achieved it all with piercing intelligence and an obsessive work ethic driven by an upbringing that would put the efforts of the most dogged stage parent to shame. Tharp's mother simply decided that her oldest child was born to be a star; she logged thousands of miles every year on the family car taking Twyla to an endless array of dance, music and art lessons around Southern California.