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Author: Sabine Kortals

Twyla Tharp Dance Launches 2015-16 Artist Series

50th anniversary tour features the world as it is…and as it ought to be.

Celebrating the half-century legacy of an American choreographer’s incomparable career, the Twyla Tharp Dance 50th Anniversary Tour kicks off our Artist Series on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 7:30 p.m.

Returning to Boulder for the first time since 1979, the company will perform at Macky Auditorium all-new works set to music by Johann Sebastian Bach, John Zorn, and Henry Butler and Steven Bernstein. Of particular note, the company’s “Preludes and Fugues” is set to Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier” as performed by David Korevaar, CU-Boulder Professor of Piano, and Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt.

Wrote Tharp recently in The New York Times’ Artist’s Journal: “In 2001, my company had been the last to perform at the World Trade Center’s outdoor plaza. We danced on Saturday night, Sunday was dark and Monday night’s show was rained out. The attack was Tuesday morning. At the time we were rehearsing ‘Movin’ Out,’ a Broadway show with a score to songs by Billy Joel, in Midtown. […] How, I asked myself, was I to justify working on a Broadway show when all around there was only evidence of human destruction? How to justify dancing? Huge headlines were everywhere: WTC I/II down. Suddenly I flashed on another WTC I/II. ‘The Well-Tempered Clavier Volumes I/II’ is the title of Bach’s two-volume set of 48 paired preludes and fugues. I had Prelude in C Major of Volume 1 on my laptop and I began to dance.

“The word I use for Bach is ecumenical. ‘The Well-Tempered Clavier’ is encyclopedic, it has so many different possibilities of color and form and emotion, a compendium of keys and rhythm, improvisation and intense structural complexity, the simplest of beautiful tunes […]. His music is a huge umbrella, large enough to accommodate all movement—styles and intentions—and it was this possibility of inclusion and tolerance that allowed me to dance again.”

In addition to “Preludes and Fugues” in the first half of the program (described as “the world as it ought to be”), the program concludes with “Yowzie” (“the world as it is”) set to American jazz classics as performed by Henry Butler and Steven Bernstein: “Buddy Bolden’s Blues,” “Wolverine Blues,” “Gimme a Pigfoot,” “Viper’s Drag,” “Booker Time,” “King Porter” and “Henry’s Boogie.”

Two show-stopping “Fanfares,” accompanied by music from avant-garde composer John Zorn, round out the program, celebrating both the ideal and real worlds. Commissioned by the Joyce Theater in New York, all four new works are choreographed by Tharp.

Twyla Tharp Dance, which eventually merged with American Ballet Theatre, will close its 10-stop anniversary tour at the Koch Theater at New York’s Lincoln Center in late November.

Tickets start at $15.

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