It All Begins With a Box…

“I start every dance with a box. I write the project name on the box, and as the piece progresses I fill it up with every item that went into the making of the dance. This means notebooks, news clippings, CDs, videotapes of me working alone in my studio, videos of the dancers rehearsing, books and photographs and pieces of art that may have inspired me.

. . .

eventually the material for [Movin’ Out] filled up twelve boxes.”



  1. I saw and enjoyed lots of Tharp’s work for Hubbard Street at the Pillow in the 80s & 90s, and I had the pleasure of meeting her while I was working at Tower. She would come in – as so many choreographers did – looking for music to work from.

  2. That’s so cool, Philip, that you met so many HUGE people at that job!

    I’m really enjoying her book, which a friend insisted I read. It’s really good for people who work in ANY kind of creative capacity — doesn’t have to be dance. It shows how art doesn’t just happen, but how artists work their butts off, and how inspiration can come from so many different places, but it still needs to be organized and consulted — hence the boxes. And just how much damn research goes into a single project! It’s helping me both understand the creative choreographic process, and with my own creative writing process. Review coming soon!

  3. Interesting. Haven’t read Tharp, but when the NYCB did the promotional give away for tix to R+J i stood on line with a Japanese journalist named Akiko who was translating one of Twyla’s books. How cool was that!

  4. Very cool, SanderO! I can definitely see why she’s being translated into many different languages – -her work is so important, and universal. What a fun experience, that enormous line you stood in — i remember when you posted about it on the Winger 🙂

  5. I love The Creative Habit. I think every artist should read it. It is a wonderfully practical and realistic approach to unlocking your creative process. It was first introduced to me in the choreography and composition class I took, and has since been referred to many times. Twyla Tharp is one person I’d love to have dinner with.

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