Music: Philip Glass (1986)
Choreography: Twyla Tharp
Staging: Shelley Washington
Scenic Design: Santo Loquasto
Costume Design: Norma Kamali
Lighting Design: Jennifer Tipton
Duration: 40 minutes
Premiere: August 28, 1986; Twyla Tharp Dance
Pacific Northwest Ballet Premiere: November 1, 2007; restaged for 2013
The 2007 Pacific Northwest Ballet premiere of Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room was generously underwritten by Glenn Kawasaki.
The collaboration of Philip Glass and Twyla Tharp united two stars of contemporary music and dance. Commissioned by Tharp for her newly structured company, Twyla Tharp Dance, In the Upper Room previewed as an untitled work-in-progress on July 7, 1986, at the Saratoga Arts Center Little Theater, where the audience’s enthusiasm and subsequent reviews immediately hailed it as a new, dynamic creation. Divided into nine segments, In the Upper Room features thirteen dancers, whose costumes evolve from black and white to dominant red, in a variety of groupings and abstract styles (some on pointe, some in sneakers) that culminates in a dazzling finale for the entire ensemble.
Philip Glass: Dancepieces, The Philip Glass Ensemble & Guests/Michael Riesman,
Sony Masterworks MK 39539
The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life, by Twyla Tharp (Simon & Schuster, 2003)
Howling Near Heaven: Twyla Tharp and the Reinvention of Modern Dance, by Marcia Siegel (St. Martin’s Press, 2006)
Notes courtesy of Twyla Tharp Productions. Used by permission.