Advance Praise for Howling Near Heaven
"It's damn good. I recommend it."
"Wordcraft meets dancecraft on equal terms in this unique biography. Siegel illuminates the life of a driven dancemaker by making the dances tell the tale. An astounding achievement."
-Bruce Marks, artistic director emeritus, Boston Ballet
Twyla Tharp is one of the most highly regarded choreographers working today; she reinvented modern dance by marrying it to jazz and classical ballet in her own witty, athletic, musically sophisticated style. Veteran dance critic Siegel (The Shapes of Change: Images of American Dance) offers an in-depth look at Tharp's work, placing it in a historical, social, cultural, political and artistic context. Tharp began inventing her choreographic approach in the '60s, winning over audiences at the avant-garde Judson Church with Eight Jelly Rolls. She then conquered the ballet world with Deuce Coupe for the Joffrey Ballet and Push Comes to Shove for American Ballet Theatre. She has gone on to create an enduring repertoire as well as a Broadway hit, Movin' Out, with Billy Joel. Siegel provides a wealth of insight into the choreographer's groundbreaking movement vocabulary and its development over four decades. Siegel quotes extensively from dance critics, including Arlene Croce and Deborah Jowitt. While these quotes and Siegel's own spare, tight observations are illuminating, there's little "howling" to be heard. The book could have used more from the "crusty, driven, demanding" choreographer herself. Still, this is a thoughtful record of Tharp's oeuvre and a must for theater and dance scholars and aficionados. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.