Tharp, Twyla

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Portrait of Twyla Tharp (click to view image source)
Twyla Tharp
(to view image author and license, click here)
Tharp, Twyla Gender: F
born on 1 July 1941 at 14:24 (= 2:24 PM )
Place Portland, Indiana, 40n26, 84w59
Timezone CST h6w (is standard time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Steinbrecher
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_cancol.18.gif 09°34' s_mo.18.gif s_libcol.18.gif 05°15 Asc.s_scocol.18.gif 09°55'


American dancer and iconoclastic, considered to be the greatest modern dance choreographer since Martha Graham. Dancing from the age of four, she became noted as a master of movement as art, receiving the nicknames "Nijinska of our time" and "Busby Berkely of the '80s." Small, delicate and creative, she formed her own troupe in 1965, combining modern and traditional dance.

Born the oldest child of Indiana Quakers, young Tharp began taking piano lessons when she was two years old. By the time she was four, she was dancing as well, beginning with tap dancing, and eventually adding ballet, acrobatic and baton lessons. In the late 1940s, the family moved to Los Angeles, where she took up the violin and viola, and also studied music theory, harmony and composition. Following her high school graduation, she enrolled at Barnard College in New York City. After one year of premed courses, she changed her major to art history. In college, she continued to study classic ballet at the American Ballet Theatre School, modern dance at Martha Graham’s studio, and jazz dancing. Prior to graduating from Barnard, she joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company, and remained there for about a year, quickly establishing herself as a promising talent.

Shortly after leaving the Taylor group in 1965, Tharp began choreographing pieces for her own company of four female dancers, including herself. Her first work as a choreographer was "Tank Dive" which premiered at Hunter College in April 1965. Several months later, the state of Alaska commissioned the troupe to a work for the state’s New York World’s Fair pavilion.

By the fall of 1965, Tharp had completed "Stride," a dance quartet specifically designed for film. She continued to create imaginative new work and by the end of 1967, she had premiered nine new works with her troupe.

On 2/03/1969, Tharp and her dancers (there were seven by then) opened an avant-garde week in modern dance at the Billy Rose Theatre in New York City. In July 1969, she devised "Medley" for the New London Connecticut College’s American Dance Festival. In 1970, she served as resident teacher at the University of Massachusetts, one of a number of short-term teaching assignments she undertook in that time frame under the sponsorship of state and national art councils.

On 2/08/1973, her troupe performed "Deuce Coupe" which met with immediate critical and popular success, as it was seen to, in the words of one critic, "bridge the seemingly contradictory worlds of modern dance experimentation, pop and ballet."

She had one youthful marriage and divorce, then in the late ‘60s a second marriage to Robert Huot, an artist who costumed her company for its first five years. They divorced, and she has a son, Jesse (1970?).

In later years, she took on a 22-city tour at age 51 with legendary Mikhail Baryshnikov, 44 at the time, for whom she had choreographed in the ‘70s.

Link to Wikipedia biography

Source Notes

B.R. in hand from Steinbrecher


  • Traits : Personality : Creative
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (One)
  • Family : Parenting : Kids 1-3 (One son)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Dancer/ Teacher (Tap, ballet, acrobatic, choreography)
  • Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession
  • Notable : Book Collection : Culture Collection