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Twyla Tharp        

Choreographer & Creativity Cultivator

Twyla Tharp is much more than just another “award-winning choreographer,” she’s an entrepreneur, manager, and accomplished businesswoman.

Tharp's entrepreneurial drive led her to found Twyla Tharp Dance company in 1965. From its humble beginnings, to its Tony Award-winning performance in “Movin’ Out," Tharp has grown the business by motivating, managing, and maintaining it the only way she knows how: with creativity and discipline.

“Magical moments of inspiration have little to do with creativity. It’s mainly a matter of discipline—lots and lots and lots of discipline.” Tharp says.

Comparing her choreography work to management, “When you’re telling a dancer what to do, you’re managing that person’s behavior by communicating. In that light my managerial role boils down to four tasks:” Identifying talent, seeking the spectacular, making them stretch, and being a parent. Her latest book, The Creative Habit: Learn it and Use It for Life explains how anyone can harness the same creative power that Tharp utilizes.

Tharp learned to identify talent in unlikely places by finding talented dancers with little experience, or “rediscovering” older dancers. She seeks out the spectacular when hiring, making her dancers stretch to do a little more than they believe is possible - a concept she sees as no different than “ a CEO like Jack Welch asking employees to ‘stretch the numbers.’”

One would expect no less from a woman who has no problem being a workaholic. She began working at age 8, bagging popcorn and serving at the snack counter at her parents’ drive-in theater. She has gone on to choreograph more than 160 dances, win a mantel-load of awards, write an autobiography, and raise a son, all while still developing her dance company. “To me, life is work—end of story.”

Tharp’s presentations instill a work ethic and inspire creativity into all who see them: peers, family members, or even employees. Don’t let the gym clothes and dance shoes fool you, she’s here on business.

Speech Topics

The Better You






If Twyla Tharp Is Dracula, Dance Is Her Lifeblood : NPR
Dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp celebrates her 50th year in professional dance by taking two new shows on the road: Preludes and Fugues and Yowzie ...
Twyla Tharp: The possibilities are endless - The Washington Post
NEW YORK — In her 50th year of making dances, Twyla Tharp has no patience for a retrospective. She has no patience for much of anything, to tell you the truth  ...
Twyla Tharp reflects on 50 years: Can't stop, won't stop - Chicago ...
Twyla Tharp reflects on 50 years of dance and why there is no end in sight for the 74-year-old.

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