Since graduating from college in 1963, Twyla Tharp has choreographed more than 135 dances, five Hollywood movies, directed and choreographed three Broadway shows, written two books, and received a Tony Award. two Emmy Awards, nineteen honorary doctorates, the Vietnam Veterans of America President’s Award, the 2004 National Medal of Arts, and many grants, including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Scholarship. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
in 1965 tharp founded her dance company, twyla tharp dance. In addition to choreographing for her own company, she has choreographed for many other companies including: American Ballet Theatre, Paris Opera Ballet, Royal Ballet, New York City Ballet, Boston Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance, and the Martha Graham Dance Company.
tharp’s work first appeared on broadway in 1980 when we were very young, followed in 1981 by his collaboration with david byrne on catherine’s wheel in the winter garden. His 1985 production of Singin’ in the Rain played at the Gershwin and was followed by an extensive national tour. In 2002, Tharp’s award-winning dance musical, Movin’ Out, with music and lyrics by Billy Joel, opened at the Richard Rodgers and ran for three years. a national tour opened in 2004 and also lasted three years. For moving, Tharp received the 2003 Tony Award, 2003 Astaire Award, Drama League Award for Sustained Achievement in Musical Theater; and both the Drama Desk Award and the Outside Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Choreography. For the London production, Tharp won Best Choreography (Musical Theatre) from the UK Critics Circle’s National Dance Awards in 2006. In 2006, Tharp worked with the music and lyrics of Bob Dylan to create the Changing Times, which was featured in Brooks Atkinson.
in film, tharp has collaborated with director milos forman on hair in 1978, ragtime in 1980 and amadeus in 1984, with taylor hackford on white nights in 1985 and with james brooks on i’ll do anything in 1994.
Her television credits include choreography for Sue’s leg for the inaugural episode of PBS’ Dance in America; co-producing and directing Making Television Dance, which won the Chicago International Film Festival Award; and directing the catherine wheel for bbc television. Tharp co-directed Tharp’s Baryshnikov television special, which won two Emmy Awards as well as the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Achievement in Directing.
in 1992, tharp wrote his autobiography. Her second book, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life was published in October 2003. She received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2008.
Today tharp continues to create and lecture around the world.
The following works by Twyla Tharp received world premieres by the American Ballet Theatre: Americans We (1995), Bach Partita (1983), The Brahms-Haydn Versions (under the title Versions on a Theme by Haydn (2000)) , brief adventure (1990), boom’s rush (1989), the elements (1996), everlast (1989), how close to heaven (1995), initial jump (1995), known by heart (1998), the little ballet (under the title once upon a time (1983), one more time, frank (pas de deux) (1976), push comes to shove (1976), quartet (1989), rabbit and rogue (2008) and sinatra suite (1983).