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The Collaborative Habit: Life Lessons for Working Together Hardcover – November 24, 2009
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I fully agree with everything she says. Collaborations differ according to whether the rest of the team is nearby or distant, or is a friend, institution, or community. Collaboration is learned, and it matters critically in all but the smallest kind of endeavor. And, as in everything else, careful preparation and hard, continuous work improve your chances of success as much as they can be improved. Tharp illustrates these points largely through her own experience with dancers like Barishnikov, dance companies around the world, and small companies of her own. Always, in the relationship between choreographer and dancer, there is an asymmetry: the choreographer designs and the dancer executes. Tharp emphasizes the other half of this relationship as well: the choreographer pays close attention to each dancer, as well, in order to discover and play to their unique strengths. And, of course, performers collaborate with the audience. She illustrates this with "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." That nearly failed as a stage production until the creators added one song: the introduction, "... comedy tonight." Once viewers had their expectations set properly, they loved it.
Each chapter ends with a case study: Steve Martin, clothing designer Norma Kamali, her experience with David Byrne, and more. These add focus and concreteness to the discussion. They also emphasize the rewards of successful collaboration for all concerned.Read more ›
To say she can be intimidating is to understate.
Her features are sharp, her hair is no-nonsense white, her glasses are oversized and round. Somewhere below her neck is a small, taut body, and a white shirt and loose jeans, but none of that matters. Only her gaze does, and it was focused on this newcomer with curiosity and skepticism.
I thought: I am not worthy.
I'm surely not the first to think that. Tharp revolutionized dance with her insistence that classical ballet and modern movement need not be antagonists, and over a 40-year career, she's explored that breakthrough idea in a dizzying catalogue of greatest hits. She's choreographed movies. She's had a Broadway hit. She was anointed with a MacArthur Fellowship, the one that certifies you as a "genius". And she's written two books. One is an autobiography,"Push Comes to Shove". The other, "The Creative Habit; Learn It and Use It for Life", is a surprise --- a wise guide for the general reader about harnessing your personal creativity.
It was a book that brought us together. Her new one, "The Collaborative Habit: Life Lessons for Working Together", would be published by Simon & Schuster in November. She'd written enough for several volumes, and would, in time, surely have been able to carve a book out of it. But she was also embarking on a new show --- "Come Fly With Me", a night of dance built around Frank Sinatra songs --- and her time was tight.Read more ›
Twyla Tharp certainly understands this, and has compiled this highly engaging book detailing her personal collaborative experiences. Although most of those experiences have been successful, she's quick to point out some of her less than stellar moments, with her spin on why things didn't go as planned. Her approach is refreshingly candid without blaming others for the problems; like any good collaboration, egos are kept in check. Results are much more favorable when the parties can communicate openly, with no hidden agendas.
This is a most enlightening perspective from an extremely successful person, who's built an entire career on making the most of her collaborative efforts. In this day and age of instant information, practically everyone needs to learn the skills of making collaboration a good habit; one you'd never want to break. Going it alone just won't fly these days.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Personal stories with past collaborators and what she learned in the process.Published 22 days ago by erica
Almost as fantastic as the author - Twyla Tharp is an American icon with a sharp eye and ability to articulate the unspoken realities of what it takes to create and maintain... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Suzanne Hogan
Great easy read about an amazingly talented woman who's done incredible things and worked with incredible people. The book came in a timely fashion just as described. Thanks!Published 17 months ago by Josephine Siu
Every dancer needs this book. It helps you translation through works in progress. I often reread chapters two or three times because it was that good!Published on January 8, 2014 by Noah James
This book has been interesting to read, but I haven't come across the kind of details and particulars that would help me develop and refine my own collaborative habit.Published on July 14, 2013 by Laurie Calland
While much of the content consists of anecdotes from Tharp's career, helpful nuggets are there for the attentive reader. Read morePublished on July 2, 2013 by S. Houg
As is my custom when a new year begins, I recently re-read this book and The Creative Habit while preparing questions for interviews of thought leaders. Read morePublished on January 31, 2012 by Robert Morris