Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Twyla Tharp: Inside Look


American Masters and legendary dancer, director, and choreographer Twyla Tharp provide an inside look at the way she approaches her work. Tune in or stream Twyla Moves on American Masters starting Fri, Mar 26 at 9/8c.


(upbeat dance music) - I've known Twyla for about ten years and I've been trying to talk her into making a documentary for that entire time.

We were about to set sail on a documentary when the pandemic hit.

- [Twyla] When there was no live shows for dancers it became clear that the only way to work was going to be virtual.

Working on zoom affords a very different look at dancers.

It's much more intimate because you're in their home.

- Hi - Misty! Girl!

- Whenever I see Twyla's name come up on my phone I'm just like, I don't know what to expect.

But I know it's gonna be exciting.

(laughs) - [Steven] Twyla has an incredible archive that she has actually kept very organized.

All of her dances.

- [Michael] I think my favorite part of Twyla moves is watching in the mid 60s.

Twyla and her troupe performed in Central Park, twirling and dancing and leaping and all sorts of other things were happening and that was the whole idea.

- [Steven] I love her scenes with Baryshnikov early on, I think they're so beautiful and tender.

- [Twyla] The reality is I had no lessons in making dance.

It's not that I didn't learn from others, I did.

But no body taught me.

- She has worked on Broadway, LA, feature films and legendary stuff.

- [Twyla] I would like to think that the picture shows the way in which I approach work, which is essentially that it's a big adventure.

- If you're very serious you are rewarded by the work that you do.

- [Twyla] If we do our job on stage, when that audience leaves, they're going to literally feel better and if they don't, we didn't do our job.

(upbeat dance music)


PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.