Tharp in 2004
This past Monday evening, dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp BC ’63 was at Barnard where she talked dance, her college years, and her book. Anastasiya Vasilyeva was there to report on the talk and how it was received by the students.
Twyla Tharp–an acclaimed dancer, choreographer, and now writer–returned to her old turf of Barnard College to lecture eager fans and students, as well as to conduct a signing for her book, The Creative Habit (2002). She began with a yo-yo and and closed with an advertisement, radiating with pride throughout the talk.
After a brief introduction about her humble education, since at the time Tharp attended school Barnard’s dance classes were just a part of the PE department, Tharp went chronologically through her works. She worked from first to most recent, delineating main points, successes, and failures, and showing brief clips of the dances, meant to match the chapter titles of The Creative Habit. Murmurs filled the Event Oval at the end of the seemingly helpful Q&A session, proclaiming the book to be far more interesting than the lecture. “It contained more art history,” one attendee whispered, “It was more on her creative process.”
The clips progressed from blurry, black and white videos to modern HD, demonstrating the length of her successful career, all from her self-advertised website. Tharp described her humble beginnings as having “No music. No production. No administration. No men.” During the majority of the clips, Tharp narrated the routine, or just counted and nodded along, illustrating her clear memory of these performances, despite the sometimes tens of years that have passed.
More on Tharp’s new class and some Barnard lovin’ after the jump.