Choreographer Twyla Tharp visited the University of Indianapolis’ campus to teach and answer students’ questions on Wednesday, March 10. Before Tharp spoke in Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center, she held a small group question and answer session, with students recommended by professors. At this small group session Tharp was introduced by junior music theory and composition major Andrew Wegg.
“I received the email asking if I would be willing to do that, and I said, ‘Absolutely,’” Wegg said. “It was wonderful. So with that I was able to go on her [Tharp’s] website because I wanted to introduce her in a way to show all the accomplishments she did, but at the same time reflect exactly what it was that I wanted personally to take out of the discussion.”
During the small group session, Tharp asked students to share a little about themselves such as why they attended the event, their major and their class level. Tharp then took questions from them, but did not limit the questions to choreography.
“Overall, I came away with a really well-rounded impression of a creative person who clearly knows what she does, knows who she is, and [has] really integrated her life with her work,” said junior mathematics and philosophy major Joe Krall. “I think it’s important [for people like this to come to UIndy], because people need to realize that creativity is something that all of us possess. And we need opportunities to have conversations such as the one we had with Twyla.We need conversations like that to happen. We need people from disciplines, even disciplines other than our own giving us the encouragement to be creative, be ingenious so to speak.”
After the small group session, Tharp attended a dinner with President Robert Manuel and students and spoke at her event in Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“Overall, I came away just really impressed with Tharp’s unwillingness to not let anything to distract her,” Krall said. “As someone who has two majors, I find my attention being divided in different ways, and it’s really encouraging and inspiring for me to see someone with so many talents be so focused.”
The biography on Tharp’s website says Tharp has choreographed more than 160 works, 129 dances, six Hollywood movies, four Broadway shows and is the winner of one Tony Award, two Emmy Awards and more.
“She certainly brought an incredible amount of energy that could be transformed into, I guess you could say, a disciplinary high for us to know that this is what we, as performers, have to do in order to be better at our craft,” Wegg said, “We have to be willing to give up time with family and friends to become better. We dont have to give them up all together, we just have to be willing to put in more work than what we’ve ever thought before in order to become successful in the way that she was successful herself.”
Tharp will continue her tour at Lesley University in Cambridge and then at Barnard College in New York City.