In this episode of "What Wendy's Watching," I talk about Twyla Tharp as a dance hero, and that's no exaggeration. She pioneered "pure dance" with gonzo energy and innovation for decades. She was an inspiration to all dancers—both downtown and uptown—when I was a young dancemaker myself. Two years after her 50th anniversary tour she returns to the Joyce Theater with a mixed program, which runs through Oct. 8. If you go to see the old and new work, there's a surprise—a spontaneous, fun entr'acte that is neither old nor new. It's in the guise of a wacky lec-dem that gives a glimpse into Tharp's dancemaking methods, her camaraderie with the dancers, and yes, her own dancing. The woman has guts to reveal her dancing self in her mid-70s. Her wit and playfulness remain intact.

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