Stephanie Williams, Cory Stearns, Catherine Hurlin and Duncan Lyle rehearsing In the Upper Room. PC Kelsey Grills

The Adrenaline Rush of Twyla Tharp's Upper Room Is Coming Back to ABT

Waves of sheer dance inventiveness come rolling toward you. Dancers in sneakers, pointe shoes or ballet slippers mingle: it looks like a free-for-all but is carefully plotted out. Philip Glass' music lets the dancers ride his gorgeous momentum.

This is In the Upper Room, the celestial yet kinetically charged ballet made by Twyla Tharp in 1986. It hasn't been done by American Ballet Theatre since 2012 and now it's coming back with full force.


What the dancers do is almost superhuman: They run backwards, they skip, they undulate, they help each other fly in the most unlikely ways. The intertwined shapes are bold, the interactions are witty, and the energy is non-stop.

The rehearsal that we observed, run by former Tharp star Shelley Washington, was the second cast of the stompers: Catherine Hurlin, Stephanie Williams, Alexandra Basmagy, Brittany DeGrofft, Calvin Royal III, Cory Stearns and Duncan Lyle danced fabulously. It was thrilling to see this masterpiece up close.

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Marcie Parker, Courtesy Red Door Dance Academy

There’s No Better Time Than Now to Upgrade Your Flooring: Here's How

Studio owners: The light at the end of the recital tunnel is in sight, and your summer intensive won't start for a few weeks after that. Now is the time to tackle all those pesky studio-upkeep projects that you can't deal with while dancers are literally underfoot. Longtime studio owners Marisa Mailhes (of Red Door Dance Academy) and Misty Lown (of Misty's Dance Unlimited) have both relied on this timing in the past to upgrade their buildings' dance flooring—and they're here to show you how Stagestep Flooring helped them get it done with a minimum of stress.

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May 2021