Twyla Tharp on American Masters

Explore the career of modern dance pioneer Twyla Tharp with first-hand glimpses at her process

  • Fred Vigeant
Watch Twyla Moves on American Masters Friday, March 26 at 9:00pm on WITF. You can stream WITF TV live on our website and through the PBS Video app on Roku, Apple TV and iPhone and Android smartphones. The program is also available on-demand through the PBS Video app.

 

American Masters: Twyla Moves explores the life of legendary dancer, director and choreographer Twyla Tharp. Jumping from historical footage to the present day, the film traces her influential career while providing an intimate look at her famously rigorous creative process.

Tharp builds a high-profile work from the ground up with an international cast of ballet stars, including Misty Copeland, Herman Cornejo and Maria Khoreva, who rehearse by video conference while under quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic. The film also features never-before seen interviews and select performances from Tharp’s vast array of more than 160 choreographed works, including 129 dances, 12 television specials, six major Hollywood movies, four full-length ballets, four Broadway shows and two figure skating routines.

A pioneer of both modern dance and ballet, Tharp discusses her inspiration and the process behind creating her trailblazing dances, such as “Fugue,” “Push Comes to Shove” and “Baker’s Dozen,” her cinematic partnership with Miloš Forman (“Hair,” “Amadeus,” “Ragtime”) and her wildly successful Broadway career collaborating with such luminaries as Billy Joel, Frank Sinatra and David Byrne.

Reflecting on her road to success and her quest to constantly evolve as a person and a choreographer, Tharp shares her stories of triumph and defeat, and how she remains deeply in love with dance. The documentary also features interviews with her family, friends and closest collaborators: the dancers, choreographers, directors and musicians she’s worked with and influenced throughout her life, including Joel, Byrne, Copeland, Cornejo, Khoreva and more.

Watch American Masters: Twyla Moves Friday March 26 at 9:00pm on WITF. This episode of American Masters is also available for on-demand viewing via the PBS Video App or watch WITF live through the PBS Video app.

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