Twyla Tharp's Eight Jelly Rolls

In: Film and Music

Submitted By trinity84848
Words 4778
Pages 20
Taiesha Abrams
Dance 132S
Instructor: Purnima Shah

Analysis of Twyla Tharp’s Eight Jelly Rolls

Twyla Tharp has influenced the field of American postmodern dance for over four decades. Her work and philosophy has had a continuing impact on the growth and development of dance by consistently delivering a unique approach, independent of the traditional techniques of modern and the antitechnical works of the avant-garde. She used the strong technique gained by ballet training to bring forth broken pirouettes and contorted bodies. She used rhythmic music to create movement that disagreed with the natural flow of the music. This paper surveys the creative process behind Twyla Tharp’s piece Eight Jelly Rolls. It explores some of the activities used to mentally and physically prepare Tharp dancers for her work. Most importantly, it aims to not only bring light to the significance and importance of the process, but to identify how the authenticity of a choreographer’s piece can be lost if the creative development of the piece is somehow altered or entirely disregarded. As her first piece choreographed and married to music, Eight Jelly Rolls is a masterpiece, full of energy, laughter, and excitement. This paper will bring some light on how these elements were brought to the stage.

A Brief Introduction To understand Tharp’s work, you must first understand her dance and musical background paired with her choreographic experience prior to the conception of Eight Jelly Rolls. Tharp pulls ideas from a plethora of places. She incorporates every experience she has had brings it to the stage. Without knowledge of these experiences, one can not view a Tharp original with the respect it truly deserves. Thus, I will provide a brief but thorough description of her work prior to 1971, which is when Eight Jelly Rolls first premiered. Twyla Tharp was born in…...

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