From Publishers Weekly
Twyla Tharp is one of the most highly regarded choreographers working today; she reinvented modern dance by marrying it to jazz and classical ballet in her own witty, athletic, musically sophisticated style. Veteran dance critic Siegel (The Shapes of Change: Images of American Dance
) offers an in-depth look at Tharp's work, placing it in a historical, social, cultural, political and artistic context. Tharp began inventing her choreographic approach in the '60s, winning over audiences at the avant-garde Judson Church with Eight Jelly Rolls.
She then conquered the ballet world with Deuce Coupe
for the Joffrey Ballet and Push Comes to Shove
for American Ballet Theatre. She has gone on to create an enduring repertoire as well as a Broadway hit, Movin' Out,
with Billy Joel. Siegel provides a wealth of insight into the choreographer's groundbreaking movement vocabulary and its development over four decades. Siegel quotes extensively from dance critics, including Arlene Croce and Deborah Jowitt. While these quotes and Siegel's own spare, tight observations are illuminating, there's little "howling" to be heard. The book could have used more from the "crusty, driven, demanding" choreographer herself. Still, this is a thoughtful record of Tharp's oeuvre and a must for theater and dance scholars and aficionados. (Mar.)
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Dance critic Siegel and choreographer Twyla Tharp embarked on their respective artistic adventures at the same time. Now the award-winning critic provides an expert and suitably awe-inspiring dance-by-dance chronicle of the trailblazing choreographer's unstoppable creativity and phenomenal vitality. Siegel begins with a succinct and clarifying history of modern dance up to 1965 when Tharp, "at once a rebel and a puritan," began her aesthetic revolution. Siegel crisply characterizes Tharp's unique "dance intelligence" and "compositional preoccupations," as well her driving ambition, "boiling intensity," and notorious obdurateness. Cerebral and sensual, comic and rigorous, formal and nonchalant, Tharp brilliantly combines classical dance with everyday movement, and infuses her work with energy and emotion by using songs by the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, David Byrne, and, most recently, Billy Joel. Siegel analyzes each work as well as Tharp's critical reception, her struggles to maintain her dance company, her forays into television and film, and her myriad personal and professional heartaches and triumphs. Demanding, daring, and controversial, Tharp has greatly enlarged the audience for dance, and summoned forth pure ecstasy. Donna SeamanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved