Early Tharp Lovers: We've Got Great News for You
Those of us who love Twyla Tharp's early works were jazzed to hear that she will expand As Time Goes By (1973) for The Royal Ballet this fall.
ATGB, original cast with Richard Colton (left), Pamela Nearhoof (right), photo courtesy DM Archives
This was a beautiful, dreamy, swirly ballet that was her first totally classical piece. Her Deuce Coupe a few months earlier was a hit that mingled the Joffrey dancers with her own dancers, performed to songs by the Beach Boys. It integrated modern and ballet, streetwise and classical, and took New York City by storm. Naturally Robert Joffrey asked her to make a second ballet ASAP.
For music, she chose excerpts of Haydn's "Farewell" Symphony. Her plans for The Royal Ballet include using the entire symphony.
Beatriz Rodriguez in center, @ Tom Rawe
We asked William Whitener, one of the original dancers in As Time Goes By, to comment. A member of the Joffrey Ballet since 1969, he had danced in Deuce Coupe as well. He found his Tharp experiences so challenging, so enticing, that he joined her company a few years later and danced with her from 1978-88. As artistic director of Kansas City Ballet, he staged ATGB for that company in 2005. (It's also been done by Paris Opera Ballet and Boston Ballet II, but it has not been one of the go-to Tharp ballets like In the Upper Room or Nine Sinatra Songs.)
Here is what Whitener says about ATGB:
"There were high expectations and excitement when As Time Goes By was created. It followed in the footsteps of Deuce Coupe, which had revolutionized the dance world. Twyla worked closely with Haydn's score during the creative process. As dancers, we dove deeply into the choreography, which has complex combinations and phrases of movement that are rooted in ballet vocabulary. The leg and footwork are highly articulated at all tempos. The port de bras integrates formal classical ballet technique with a natural flow of movement and force. We shifted directions with split-second timing in tightly woven patterns and broad sweeps of movement. As the ballet concluded, the cast quietly watched from the wings as a lone male dancer gently unspools gorgeous adagio movement. Audiences responded audibly to the rigor, humor and tenderness in As Time Goes By. My friend and colleague, Tommy Tune, likened the work to a flock of birds in flight."
William Whitener at left, with Christine Uchida and Donn Edwards, © Tom Rawe
The expanded ATGB, titled The Illustrated Farewell, comes to the Royal Opera House in London November 6–17. It shares a program with Arthur Pita's premiere The Wind and Hofesh Shechter's Untouchable (2015).
I'm already dreaming of a quick trip across the pond that week.
When the news broke that Prince George, currently third in line for the British throne, would be continuing ballet classes as part of his school curriculum this year, we were as excited as anyone. (Okay, maybe more excited.)
This was not, it seems, a sentiment shared by "Good Morning America" host Lara Spencer.
If you think becoming a trainee or apprentice is the only path to gaining experience in a dance company environment, think again.
The University of Arizona, located in the heart of Tucson, acclimates dancers to the pace and rigor of company life while offering all the academic opportunities of a globally-ranked university. If you're looking to get a head-start on your professional dance career—or to just have a college experience that balances company-level training and repertory with rigorous academics—the University of Arizona's undergraduate and graduate programs have myriad opportunites to offer:
Yes, we realize it's only August. But we can't help but to already be musing about all the incredible dance happenings of 2019.
We're getting ready for our annual Readers' Choice feature, and we want to hear from you about the shows you can't stop thinking about, the dance videos that blew your mind and the artists you discovered this year who everyone should know about.
If you're seeking an extra dash of inspiration to start the new season on the right—dare we say—foot, look no further than dance documentaries.
Starting August 23, OVID, a streaming service dedicated to docs and art-house films, is adding eight notable dance documentaries to its library. The best part? There's a free seven-day trail. (After that, subscriptions are $6.99 per month or $69.99 annually.)
From the glamour of Russian ballet stars to young dancers training in Cuba to a portrait of powerhouse couple Carmen de Lavallade and Geoffrey Holder, here's what's coming to a couch near you: