MMC Community Takes on Twyla Tharp’s “The One Hundreds”

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To say that Twyla Tharp is a trailblazer in both modern and ballet dance is an understatement. Her contributions to the art form are groundbreaking and everlasting as she has forever altered the notion of dance with her influential ideas and choreography. To this day, Tharp’s work remains a cornerstone of dance as well as an inspiration for choreographers and dancers alike. Twyla Tharp is an American dancer, choreographer and author living in New York City. In 1965, Tharp founded her own dance company called Twyla Tharp Dance. One of 8Tharp’s most well-known works is her piece called “The One Hundreds.” This piece is a compilation of one hundred different eleven-second movement phrase segments that are performed in the silence. “The One Hundreds” is a collaborative piece that begins with two dancers then moves to five dancers and then is completed with one hundred dancers. The choreography is a combination of pedestrian elements among more advanced and dance-like qualities that allow both advanced dancers as well as novices or everyday individuals to learn something from the work. The inspiration of dance, boxing, sports like baseball, life events, et cetera, in which Tharp draws inspiration from is fascinating, avant-garde and unique. Growing up and living on a farm, Tharp drew from her experiences to create witty, nonchalant, yet technically precise phrases. Dancers from all around the world can pinpoint Tharp’s style as a result of these signature characteristics. 

In order to pay tribute to the dance pioneer that is Twyla Tharp, the Marymount Manhattan Dance Department gathered one hundred individuals in Central Park on Saturday, April 24th for a socially distanced recreation of Tharp’s iconic piece “The One Hundreds.” Prior to the event, each member of the Marymount Manhattan Dance Company learned all one hundred phrases during the January term. In order to complete the recreation of the renowned piece, the MMC Dance Company invited dancers outside the company as well as actors, theatre majors, musicians, faculty members, commoners, all alike, gathered to be a part of this momentous occasion. Even President Kerry Walk made an appearance. At the event, these one hundred individuals masked up and gathered in socially distanced groups where each person learned one of the eleven count phrases from an MMC Dance Company member. Then each individual separated on the lawn of Central Park into a mass grouping and executed the movement that they had been taught for the camera. Different angles and shots were taken while the group performed Tharp’s short segments all together. It was a collaborative piece where no two dancers were doing the same movement. Therefore, with each and every viewing of the film, audience members can see something new. With this event, the MMC Dance Department created a way to connect individuals together through dance in order to celebrate the brilliant mind and work of Twyla Tharp. The ability to unite individuals with art is insanely impactful and beautiful during this difficult time.