MacArthur Fellows Program

Twyla Tharp

Dancer and Choreographer | Class of 1992

Title
Dancer and Choreographer
Location
New York, New York
Age
51 at time of award
Area of Focus
Choreography and Dance

Twyla Tharp has been an innovator in dance and choreography for over forty years.

Through numerous collaborations, most notably with Mikhail Baryshnikov and the American Ballet Theatre, Tharp demonstrated the potential for combining the modern vocabulary of movement with classical ballet.  Her dances range from such early classics as “Fugue” (1970) and “Eight Jelly Rolls” (1971), to the more recent works, “Cutting Up” (1992), “Jump Start” (1995), “Known by Heart (1998), and “Even the King” (2003).  She was the choreographer for the films, Hair (1978), Amadeus (1984), and I’ll Do Anything (1994), and for the Broadway shows, The Catherine Wheel (1981), Singin’ in the Rain (1985), and Movin’ Out (2002).  In television, she choreographed “Sue’s Leg,” the inaugural episode of the Dance in America series on PBS, and co-directed Baryshnikov by Tharp.  She is the author of Push Comes to Shove (1992), an autobiography, and the Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life (2003).

In 1965, Tharp started the dance company Twyla Tharp Dance, which later merged with the American Ballet Theatre in 1988.  She regrouped the company in 1991.

Tharp attended Pomona College and the American Ballet Theatre School, and received a B.A. (1963) from Barnard College.  She studied with Richard Thomas, Merce Cunningham, and Paul Taylor.

Last updated January 1, 2005

News About this Fellow
September 14, 2017
"Twyla Tharp’s Back Pages, With Chapters to Come"
The New York Times
Twyla Tharp , 1992 MacArthur Fellow
July 8, 2016
"Twyla Tharp and Her Dancers Look Back, Mindful of the Future"
The New York Times
Twyla Tharp , 1992 MacArthur Fellow
April 10, 2016
"Twyla Tharp to Present New Work at the Joyce Theater"
The New York Times
Twyla Tharp , 1992 MacArthur Fellow
December 2, 2015
"Twyla Tharp on Tour: The Wrap Up"
The New York Times
Twyla Tharp , 1992 MacArthur Fellow
November 20, 2015
"Twyla Tharp Keeps Pushing Boundaries of Dance"
VOA
Twyla Tharp , 1992 MacArthur Fellow
November 15, 2015
"If Twyla Tharp Is Dracula, Dance Is Her Lifeblood"
NPR
Twyla Tharp , 1992 MacArthur Fellow
November 12, 2015
"Twyla Tharp's Unceasing Quest to Reveal Truth in Human Movement"
The Washington Post
Twyla Tharp , 1992 MacArthur Fellow
November 6, 2015
"Twyla Tharp: The Possibilities Are Endless"
The Washington Post
Twyla Tharp , 1992 MacArthur Fellow
November 3, 2015
"Twyla Tharp on the Road: Homecoming, a Photo Essay"
The New York Times
Twyla Tharp , 1992 MacArthur Fellow
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