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  • Writer's pictureMarjorie Robertson

Twyla Tharp: you be you

In an interview with Terry Gross on "Fresh Air," April 8, 2021, Twyla Tharp says she looked at herself realistically and aimed to work toward her strengths and not be like someone else.

Everyone is good at something. But sometimes we have no luck. Sometimes for a time or for a long, long time, sickness or obligation or work redirects you. Something. But your strengths never leave you. They call to you.

"How would you define that? I mean, here's how I defined it. I looked in the mirror. I said, oh, OK. You can do that pretty well. And I looked in the mirror at everybody else. And I tried to be as objective as possible. And I was in some very high-level classes. Cynthia Gregory would be in front of me. I'd say, OK, you can forget it about that fourth pirouette. You don't get it... or Toni Lander. These were great ballerinas of my era who were in classes I was taking. And I saw that--what they did I was not qualified for. But I saw that I had another way of moving that was foreign to them and that they were awkward with. And that's where I chose to go."

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