American Masters: Twyla Moves

American Masters: Twyla Moves

Sun, 08/28/2022 - 2:30pm - 4:00pm

Twyla instructing at Pacific Northwest Ballet in 2008.

Credit: Courtesy of Marc von Borstel

American Masters presents this exploration of the life of legendary dancer, director, and choreographer Twyla Tharp. 

Jumping from historical footage to the present day, the film traces her influential career while providing an intimate look at her famously rigorous creative process. Emmy®-winning and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Steven Cantor (American Masters – Willie Nelson: Still is Still Moving) follows Tharp as she builds a high-profile work from the ground up with an international cast of ballet stars, including Misty Copeland, Herman Cornejo, and Maria Khoreva, who rehearse by video conference while under quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic. American Masters: Twyla Moves airs Sunday, August 28 at 2:30 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

The film also features never-before-seen interviews and select performances from Tharp’s vast array of more than 160 choreographed works, including 129 dances, 12 television specials, six major Hollywood movies, four full-length ballets, four Broadway shows, and two figure skating routines. A pioneer of both modern dance and ballet, Tharp discusses her inspiration and the process behind creating her trailblazing dances, such as “Fugue,” “Push Comes to Shove” and “Baker’s Dozen,” her cinematic partnership with Miloš Forman (“Hair,” “Amadeus,” “Ragtime”) and her wildly successful Broadway career collaborating with such luminaries as Billy Joel, Frank Sinatra, and David Byrne. Reflecting on her road to success and her quest to constantly evolve as a person and a choreographer, Tharp shares her stories of triumph and defeat, and how she remains deeply in love with dance. The documentary also features interviews with her family, friends, and closest collaborators: the dancers, choreographers, directors, and musicians she’s worked with and influenced throughout her life, including Joel, Byrne, Copeland, Cornejo, Khoreva, and more.