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.