Regional Dance Effort

Legendary choreographer Twyla Tharp joins Pathways to Dance leaders to discuss new project

Today, legendary choreographer Twyla Tharp joined representatives from Catskill Mountain Foundation, Proctors and Saratoga Performing Arts Center to launch Pathways to Dance, an annual eight-county, ten-venue Capital Region initiative, in concert with Manhattan’s Joyce Theater, designed to support new dance creation and presentation.

At the University at Albany’s Performing Arts Center Recital Hall, Tharp, CMF Director of Programming Pam Weisberg, Proctors CEO Philip Morris and SPAC President and Executive Director Marcia J. White thanked the NYS Regional Economic Development Council for its $90,000 grant, which is administered by Electric City Arts and Entertainment District.

The group also outlined 2016’s inaugural programming, built around Tharp’s pioneering work and celebrating her 50 years in dance. “I am very pleased to be working again in upstate New York. In 1969, due west of here in New Berlin, I choreographed The 100s and who would have thought I would be here today working with this wonderful group of presenters to give ongoing life to this work as well as other pieces in my repertory. I am very honored,” said Tharp.

Pathways to Dance begins this evening, with a 6:15 p.m. book signing and 7 p.m. onstage interview with Tharp at Page Hall on UAlbany’s downtown campus.

The heart of this year’s project is a six-week Catskills residency, where Tharp will remount two repertory works—Country Dances from 1976 and Brahms Paganini from 1980. She will also rehearse a new octet set to Beethoven’s Opus 133. A showcase of work in progress will occur April 16 at the Orpheum Film and Performing Arts Center, Tannersville, with the June premiere to follow at SPAC.

“There is no grander way to present Pathways to Dance than with a world premiere performance by Twyla Tharp’s company,” said White, who will stage the evening of two repertory works and one new work on June 30 as part of SPAC’s 50th anniversary season. “Under Ms. Tharp’s peerless artistic leadership, this remarkable upstate/downstate collaboration will enrich the Capital Region’s dance offerings in an unprecedented way.”

“This is an amazing collaboration,” said Morris. “It speaks to the value of the creative economy; it speaks to the great work varied arts organizations can do when they come together; and it speaks to the power of art in our daily lives.”

Other elements of the initial project, sparked by The Egg in Albany, include: a display of some of Tharp’s choreography at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs; community participation in dance-making through Tharp’s The One Hundreds, at the Schenectady YMCA (sponsored by Proctors); and related lectures/demonstrations at venues including Basilica Hudson, Hubbard Hall in Cambridge and Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.

“This is just, to use a dance metaphor, the first step,” said Weisberg. “And we’re thrilled that that step is being choreographed by Twyla Tharp, one of the great forces in American dance.”