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The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life Hardcover – October 7, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Perhaps the leading choreographer of her generation, Tharp offers a thesis on creativity that is more complex than its self-help title suggests. To be sure, an array of prescriptions and exercises should do much to help those who feel some pent-up inventiveness to find a system for turning idea into product, whether that be a story, a painting or a song. This free-wheeling interest across various creative forms is one of the main points that sets this book apart and leads to its success. The approach may have been born of the need to reach an audience greater than choreographer hopefuls, and the diversity of examples (from Maurice Sendak to Beethoven on one page) frees the student to develop his or her own patterns and habits, rather than imposing some regimen that works for Tharp. The greatest number of illustrations, however, come from her experiences. As a result, this deeply personal book, while not a memoir, reveals much about her own struggles, goals and achievements. Finally, the book is also a rumination on the nature of creativity itself, exploring themes of process versus product, the influences of inspiration and rigorous study, and much more. It deserves a wide audience among general readers and should not be relegated to the self-help section of bookstores.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School--Tharp shows how and why artists must actively seek and nurture inspiration. The dancer/choreographer draws heavily on her personal experiences to guide readers into cultivating habits that give birth to success. In addition, she recounts the experiences of artists from other disciplines, including painting and cinematography. Vignettes from the lives of people such as Mozart underline the fact that even geniuses work hard to realize the fruits of their labor. A personable tone is carried throughout the book, and within the text is a gold mine of advice. Tharp not only promotes tried-and-true habits, but also encourages readers to dig deep within themselves and come up with their own answers. Most sections conclude with exercises; they are fun and almost seamlessly bring home the author's main points. The black-and-white illustrations and photos are few in number. Students from all manner of creative arts who wish to make their dreams come true would benefit from reading this book.--Sheila Shoup, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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If it isn't obvious already, I come down on the side of hard work. That's why this book is call The Creative Habit. Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits. That's it in a nutshell."
~ Twyla Tharp from The Creative Habit
Twyla Tharp is awesome.
One of the greatest choreographers in the world, she'd created more than 130 (!!!) dances for her company as well as for everyone from the Joffrey Ballet to London's Royal Ballet.
In this great book, Twyla shares some uber-Big Ideas on how we can develop our Creative Habit to more consistently rock it.
Hope you enjoy a few of my favorites:
1. Rituals of Preparation - They're a must.
2. Mozart's Genius = Discipline + work ethic.
3. Give Me 1 Week Without - Silly distractions.
4. Busy Copying - If you want to be great.
5. Reading - It does a mind good.
To find 250+ more reviews visit http://bit.ly/BrianReviews
I use the term "generously" because she shares frankly, empowering all who will take her advice to heart. She comes across as a person utterly committed to her art--being an artist is not something she does--it is something she is. this comes across clearly. But she doesn't romanticize the artist's identity, insisting that artists are made--by hard work and consistent discipline and habits--more than being born. She even shows how Mozart, the genius of geniuses, attained his heights due to intensive disciplined practice and habit.
There is not a pretentious bone in Twyla Tharp's body, nor is there a pretentious page in her book. I commend it highly.
Exactly. This is America's foremost choreographer digging deep to dissect her life and her work practices, trying to distill what it is that has kept her productive and relevant throughout a professional career now at the 40-year mark. [Hint: Hard work. Ritual. Discipline. Hard work. Practice. Hard work...getting the picture?]
In addition, there are two other threads in the book well worth your while. The first is the invention of Twyla Tharp, a self-made, up-from-the-bootstraps talent from the foothills of San Bernadino, CA. Curious about the unique Twyla Tharp name? So was I. Tharp explains it here, and credits her Mom with wanting to pick out something striking for her daughter. Clearly, Mom had big plans for young Twyla, who did not disappoint.
The second in the invention of "Movin' Out," the dance story Tharp conceived and directed to the music of Billy Joel. This is briliant, spine-tingling stuff. In fact, I'd gladly pay $25 to read a book dedicated solely to the creation of "Movin' Out." It's fascinating to read how Tharp created the idea from scratch, presented it to the singer to get his approval and then drove it forward from there. You even get blow-by-blow details on how Tharp overhauled the Act One as the play worked out its off-Broadway preview kinks in Chicago. [And, as a Billy Joel fan, it's nice to see that he comes across as Tharp's perfect partner.]