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News archive »

Dreaming of Dancing With Twyla Tharp

11.26.18
Twyla Tharp Dance
Next Avenue

I opened my email back in September from the Joyce Theater, Manhattan's popular dance performance venue. The subject line read: "Special Volunteer Opportunity with Twyla Tharp Dance!"

Whoa! I thought. I love the Joyce! I love dance! I love Twyla! I couldn't click through fast enough.

It read: "Our upcoming Twyla Tharp Dance engagement calls for a diverse group of volunteers to appear onstage at the New York premiere of Minimalism and Me. If you can move well, hop, skip, jump, and carry a folding chair around a stage, you may be in luck!"

Why then, I'm in luck! I can hop, skip and jump. And boy, do I know my way around a folding chair.

I read on. They were looking for 15 non-dancers who are "18+." I took them at their word about the plus. I recently turned 70. I have had one hip replaced, two surgeries on one hammer toe, a bunion surgery, a parathyroid removed (yes, we have parathyroids), both ovaries removed (one, a wrong site surgery - shocking, I know) and am missing half a breast (breast cancer, a long time ago; I'm fine).

But I'm very active. I take four-mile walks. Twenty-five mile bike rides. Do yoga. Upon turning 70, I bought a pair of professional Bloch tap shoes and headed for Steps on Broadway for absolute beginner classes.

Worrying About the Best Look for Twyla The piece would explore 77-year-old Twyla Tharp's "creative process at the very beginning of her career." We volunteers would "represent the original 1960s audiences" and participate in "activities as needed for the production" (where, I assume, the folding chairs would come in). We were to wear what a "Judson Church, Lower East Side, pre-Age of Aquarius" audience would wear (no idea) or unbranded workout attire. We'd have to use our own clothes.

I immediately spend too much time worrying about my performance gear. I Google "women fashion Manhattan 1960s." I see that 1963 was the year Ann-Margret starred in the film, Bye Bye Birdie. I adored the hot pink Capri pants and crop top with ruffles across the front she wore. My mother sewed a version for me. I'm sure this is not the look Twyla is after.

I realize I'm getting ahead of myself. To apply you have to send a photo - full body, no selfies, no professional shots; a short bio and promise to attend 33 rehearsals or performances from November 14 to December 9. No audition necessary.

Read the full review here