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S35 Ep3

Twyla Moves

Premiere: 3/26/2021 | 00:02:36 |

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.

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About the Episode

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. Emmy®-winning and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Steven Cantor (American Masters – Willie Nelson: Still is Still Moving) follows Tharp as she 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. Twyla Moves premieres nationwide Friday, March 26, 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), and the PBS Video app in honor of Women’s History Month. 

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.


Twyla Moves is a production of Stick Figure Entertainment in association with American Masters Pictures. Steven Cantor is director. Jamie Schutz is producer. Michael Kantor is executive producer of American Masters.

American Masters Pictures
Founded in 2016 by executive producer Michael Kantor, American Masters Pictures is WNET’s theatrical imprint for documentaries co-produced by American Masters, the award-winning biography series that celebrates our arts and culture. American Masters Pictures partners with filmmakers, distributors and sales agents on non-broadcast releases including film festivals, theatrical, online, DVD, VOD and OTT, with PBS as the exclusive U.S. broadcaster of all films as part of the American Masters series. Films include Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, Itzhak, Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise and Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable. Since 1986, American Masters has set the standard for documentary film profiles, accruing widespread critical acclaim: 28 Emmy Awards — including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special — 14 Peabodys, an Oscar, three Grammys, two Producers Guild Awards and many other honors. The series is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET.

About WNET
WNET is America’s flagship PBS station: parent company of New York’s THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its new ALL ARTS multi-platform initiative, its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each month. WNET produces and presents a wide range of acclaimed PBS series, including NATURE, GREAT PERFORMANCES, AMERICAN MASTERS, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND, and the nightly interview program AMANPOUR AND COMPANY. In addition, WNET produces numerous documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings, as well as multi-platform initiatives addressing poverty and climate. Through THIRTEEN Passport and WLIW Passport, station members can stream new and archival THIRTEEN, WLIW and PBS programming anytime, anywhere.

About Stick Figure Entertainment
Founded by award-winning filmmaker Steven Cantor and led by award-winning producer Jamie Schutz, Stick Figure has produced over 400+ hours of film and television for more than 40 networks and studios such as HBO, SHOWTIME, FOX, ESPN, IFC, E!, VH1, TWC, BBC, A&E, and National Geographic.  Stick Figure’s accolades include an Oscar nomination, multiple Emmy awards, and nominations for Best Documentary and Series, Special Jury Award at Sundance, Audience Award at AFI, Best Feature Film at the LA Independent Film Festival, and official selections at Sundance Film Festival (nine films), TIFF, Berlin, Telluride, Tribeca, Venice, and more. Most recently, Stick Figure debuted the YouTube series STAY HOME WITH: YUNGBLUD, following the British rockstar as he spent a month in quarantine with his band, writing and releasing new music and connecting with fans and family from a distance. Their upcoming film, HOOD RIVER, follows an Oregon soccer team struggling with issues of race and leadership, was made in partnership with Executive Producer Robert Rodriguez. Stick Figure also premiered two films at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival: WHAT WILL BECOME OF US, about The Westfield Group’s iconic founder Frank Lowy and his incredible journey from a teen escaping WWII to Australian business tycoon; and BETWEEN ME AND MY MIND, which reveals the creative process of Phish’s lead singer, Trey Anastasio. In 2018, Stick Figure released a feature documentary for Hulu, BALLET NOW, that follows NYCB superstar, Tiler Peck, as she curates and stars in a show at LA’s Music Center made in partnership with Paul Allen’s Vulcan Productions and Executive Producer Elisabeth Moss. Stick Figure is currently in production on a PBS American Masters documentary about legendary choreographer TWYLA THARP. Upcoming projects include AMERICAN GIRLS, a coming of age story of Chinese- American teenage girls, directed by Amanda Lipitz and produced in partnership with Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine; CITIZEN ASHE, about tennis legend and groundbreaking human rights advocate Arthur Ashe, featuring exclusive unreleased archival materials and John Legend as Executive Producer; WHEN CLAUDE GOT SHOT, which delves into one weekend of interconnected gun violence in inner city Milwaukee that affects three strangers forever, with Snoop Dogg as Executive Producer; and multiple documentary series in development ranging from a true crime series with Discovery to a music series with Amazon to several social impact projects.