Coming to PBS’s American Masters tomorrow, Friday, March 26:
A portrait of acclaimed choreographer and dancer Twyla Tharp.
With a career spanning nearly 60 years, Twyla Tharp has left an indelible mark on the world of dance. Filmmaker Steven Cantor provides a compelling retrospective of her pioneering work while, slightly less successfully, using a minor project created during the pandemic to demonstrate her process. The latter is a three-minute piece with four dancers, each in different time zones and in separate Zoom frames. While showcasing how Tharp resolves the imposed limitations of lockdown, and how she works with dancers, as a whole this thread feels too slight to serve as a backbone for the film. Far more engaging is the bulk of the film, tracing Tharp’s notable achievements, eclecticism and range, and championing of inclusion based on gender, race, and size. If she sometimes comes off as somewhat overly rehearsed when recounting her past, this too demonstrates the precision and exactness she displays in her wide-ranging work.