Twyla Tharp: From Manhattan North through Eight NYS Counties

Twyla Tharp Photo by Marc Van Borstel
Twyla Tharp
Photo by Marc Van Borstel

Year: 2016-2017
DanceForce Member: Kim Engel
Artist: Twyla Tharp
Community Partners: Basilica, Hudson; Catskill Mountain Foundation; The Egg, Albany; Hubbard Mall, Cambridge; NYS Writers Institute; Proctor’s Theatre, Schenectady; Saratoga Performing Arts Center; Russell Sage College; Schenectady YMCA; Troy Savings Bank Music Hall; UAlbany Performing Arts Center
Audience: 2,825
Counties: Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Washington

Kickstarted by a $90,000 grant from New York State’s Regional Economic Development Council competition, a ten-member consortium of arts presenter venues across all counties of the Capital Region Council worked in partnership with The Joyce Theater in New York City. Members of the coalition included the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga County, Proctors in Schenectady County, Catskill Mountain Foundation in Greene County, The Egg and the UAlbany Performing Arts Center in Albany County, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Rensselaer County, Basilica Hudson in Columbia County and Hubbard Hall in Washington County along with The Joyce Theater in New York City.

Culminating almost a full year of collaboration and planning between the participating venues, the consortium commenced its first collaborative project with Twyla Tharp, one of this century’s most treasured dance artists who was celebrating fifty years of dance making and was artist-in-residence at The Joyce. The project included a six-week creative residency for Tharp in the Catskills with a new company of dancers, appearances and book signings by Tharp in Albany and Hudson, community participation in dance-making through Tharp’s The One Hundred’s project in Schenectady, lecture/demonstrations in Rensselaer and Washington counties and performances which included a world premiere at SPAC in June followed by its New York premiere at The Joyce in July. The exact schedule was as follows:

March 1 at Page Hall (7pm) on the University at Albany downtown campus in Albany
Twyla Tharp conducted a book signing and was interviewed on stage by WAMC’s Joe Donahue (for later broadcast)

March 7 to April 15 in Hunter
Twyla Tharp and dancers were in residence through Catskill Mountain Foundation

March 31 at Basilica Hudson (7pm) in Hudson
Twyla Tharp lectured on “The Creative Habit,” based on her 2006 book of the same name

April 1 at Hubbard Hall (1pm) in Cambridge and Russell Sage College (4pm) in Troy
Twyla Tharp and company offered lecture/demonstrations of new and remounted works

April 2 at Schenectady YMCA (1pm registration, 5:30pm performance) through Proctors
Twyla Tharp & company taught and performed “The One Hundreds” with 100 community volunteers

April 16 at Orpheum Film and Performing Arts Center (7:30pm) in Tannersville
Twyla Tharp and company presented a showcase of works-in-progress

June 30 at Saratoga Performing Arts Center (8pm) in Saratoga
Twyla Tharp’s company performed a world premiere along with two revivals

July 11 to 23 at the Joyce Theatre in Manhattan
Twyla Tharp’s company performed a program including the New York premiere of work created upstate

One goal of working collaboratively was to leverage a unique synergy between downstate and upstate. Upstate venues served as an incubator for new work giving their audiences the potential to grow while downstate and national audiences benefited from the creation of this new work. The consortium also hoped that the project would be a template for continued collaborative endeavors among its members. There was a universal desire to continue partnering, programming and promoting dance collaboratively to nurture new and existing audiences for dance in the Capital Region.