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AMERICAN MASTERS Announces New Documentary on Twyla Tharp


The film is called "Twyla Moves."

AMERICAN MASTERS Announces New Documentary on Twyla Tharp

Stick Figure Entertainment, in association with AMERICAN MASTERS Pictures, is proud to announce Twyla Moves (w.t.), a feature documentary on legendary dancer, director and choreographer Twyla Tharp. The film will have its exclusive U.S. broadcast premiere as part of the AMERICAN MASTERS series on PBS, and will feature never-before seen interviews and select performances from Tharp's vast array of more than 160 choreographed works, including 129 dances, 12 television specials, six major Hollywood movies, four full-length ballets, four Broadway shows and two FIGURE SKATING routines.

Twyla Moves (w.t.) will provide a first-hand glimpse into the legendary choreographer's storied career and famously rigorous creative process. A pioneer of both modern dance and ballet, Tharp will share intimate details behind her trailblazing dances ("Fugue," "Push Comes to Shove," "Baker's Dozen"), her cinematic partnership with Miloš Forman (Hair, Amadeus, Ragtime) and her wildly successful Broadway career alongside such luminaries as Billy Joel, Frank Sinatra and David Byrne. Tracing her influential career, the film follows Tharp as she builds a high-profile work from the ground up with an international cast of stars (Misty Copeland, Herman Cornejo, Maria Khoreva) who rehearse by video conference during the coronavirus pandemic.

In Twyla Moves (w.t.), Tharp will revisit her most memorable pieces through archival footage. Reflecting on her road to success and her quest to constantly evolve as a person and a choreographer, she will share her favorite stories of triumph and defeat, and how she remains deeply in love with dance. The documentary also features interviews with her family, friends and closest collaborators: the dancers, choreographers, directors and musicians she's worked with and influenced throughout her life, including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Billy Joel, David Byrne, Bob Dylan, and more.

Twyla Moves (w.t.) reinforces her standing as a preeminent figure of dance and is directed by Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning director Steven Cantor (DANCER, BALLET NOW, Willie Nelson: STILL IS STILL MOVING for American Masters), produced by Emmy Award-winning producer Jamie Schutz (STEP, CHASING TYSON, BETWEEN ME AND MY MIND), and executive produced by Emmy and Peabody Award-winner Michael Kantor for AMERICAN MASTERS Pictures (Maya Angelou: AND STILL I RISE, TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM, BOMBSHELL: THE HEDY LAMARR STORY.) David Koh will oversee global sales.

"I've made a lot of pieces, though never participated in one about myself," says Tharp. "I've spent an entire career challenging myself and others to work outside of their comfort zone and this global pandemic certainly presents a challenge of the highest degree. It also brings time to reflect, and I look forward to collaborating with Steven in exploring pivotal stories, revisiting memorable pieces and discussing why and how I make dance."

"I have known Twyla and been trying to talk her into this for years, and I'm thrilled and honored that she has finally decided to trust me to help tell her story," says New York-based filmmaker and Stick Figure founder Steven Cantor. "My parents are longtime fans and, when I was a child, took me to see Twyla's performances at every opportunity. I always marveled at her boundary-pushing bravado and constant desire to pursue new challenges, so I can't wait to pull back the curtain in her stories and her process."

"Twyla Tharp has the kind of irrepressible energy that defines so many great artists," says AMERICAN MASTERS Executive Producer Michael Kantor. "She is a force of nature who creates indelible experiences for audiences. We are grateful that she is affording us incredible access to capture her energy both onstage and off in this one-of-a-kind film."

"We're very excited to bring Twyla's story to the screen," says producer Jamie Schutz. "From a small town in Indiana to the brightest of lights in New York City, her path is inspiring and impressive and she certainly belongs in the prestigious canon of American Masters."

Support for AMERICAN MASTERS is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, AARP, Rosalind P. Walter, Judith and Burton Resnick, Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family Foundation, The Vital Projects Fund, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Seton J. Melvin, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Ellen and James S. Marcus, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation and public television viewers.

Photo Credit: Marc von Borstel

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