85 Twyla Tharp Quotes on Creativity, Dance and Style

Twyla Tharp, a preeminent American contemporary dance choreographer, founded Twyla Tharp Dance in 1965 and later merged it with American Ballet Theatre in 1988.

She has choreographed over 125 dances, worked on five films, directed Broadway shows and authored two books.

Her collaboration with Mikhail Baryshnikov, “Cutting Up”, became a seminal tour in contemporary dance.

On Broadway, she’s known for works like “When We Were Very Young” and the Tony-winning “Movin’ Out” with Billy Joel.

Tharp’s film collaborations include directors like Milos Forman and Taylor Hackford.


Her TV work earned her Emmy and Director’s Guild awards. Her books include an autobiography and “The Creative Habit”.

I have chosen the best quotes by Twyla Tharp for you.

Best Twyla Tharp Quotes


Dancing is like bank robbery, it takes split-second timing. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Without the little ideas, there are no big ideas. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Without the little ideas, there are no big ideas. ~ Twyla Tharp.


Creativity is an act of defiance. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Dance is the most fundamental of all art forms. ~ Twyla Tharp.

I had always seen myself as a star; I wanted to be a galaxy. ~ Twyla Tharp.


You’re only kidding yourself if you put creativity before craft. ~ Twyla Tharp.

I always, somehow, knew that I was going to dance. ~ Twyla Tharp.

A young person has to start making decisions for themselves at a much earlier age than an overbearing parent allows one. ~ Twyla Tharp.

In order to be creative, you have to know how to prepare to be creative. ~ Twyla Tharp.


When you’re in a rut, you have to question everything except your ability to get out of it. ~ Twyla Tharp.

I am magnetically drawn to images, whether they’re paintings, photographs, film, or video. They are all lodestones of inspiration to me. ~ Twyla Tharp.

The blank space can be humbling. But I’ve faced it my whole professional life. It’s my job. It’s also my calling. Bottom line: Filling this empty space constitutes my identity. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Creative Twyla Tharp Quotes

Once you accept the power of spine in the creative act, you will become much more efficient in your creativity. You will still get lost on occasion, but having a spine will anchor you. ~ Twyla Tharp.

You only need one good reason to commit to an idea, not four hundred. But if you have four hundred reasons to say yes and one reason to say no, the answer is probably no. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Everyone has a talent. It’s simply a question of good discipline, of the good fortune to have an education that meshes with that talent, and a lot of luck. ~ Twyla Tharp.


If a thing moves, it lives. ~ Twyla Tharp.

I’ve survived inattention. I hope to God I survive attention. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Our ability to grow is directly proportional to an ability to entertain the uncomfortable. ~ Twyla Tharp.

I have a sort of tactility about music. I go into record stores and just run my fingers over it, the spines. ~ Twyla Tharp.


There’s nothing wrong with fear; the only mistake is to let it stop you in your tracks. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Generosity is luck going in the opposite direction, away from you. If you’re generous to someone, if you do something to help him out, you are in effect making him lucky. This is important. It’s like inviting yourself into a community of good fortune. ~ Twyla Tharp.

No one is born with skill. It is developed through exercise, through repetition, through a blend of learning and reflection that’s both painstaking and rewarding. And it takes time. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Creativity is not just for artists. It’s for businesspeople looking for a new way to close a sale; it’s for engineers trying to solve a problem; it’s for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way. ~ Twyla Tharp.


Before you can think out of the box, you have to start with a box. ~ Twyla Tharp.

You can keep on chewing gum for ten hours, but after about a minute and a half you’ve got all the good out of it. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Metaphor is the lifeblood of all art, if it is not art itself. Metaphor is our vocabulary for connecting what we’re experiencing to what we have experienced before. ~ Twyla Tharp.

More often than not I’ve found, a rut is a consequence of sticking to tried and tested methods that don’t take into account how you or the world has changed. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Top Twyla Tharp Quotes

You may wonder which came first: the skill or the hard work. But that’s a moot point. The Zen master cleans his own studio. So should you. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Traveling the paths of greatness, even in someone else’s footprints, is a vital means to acquiring skill. ~ Twyla Tharp.


Metaphor is the lifeblood of all art. ~ Twyla Tharp.

I know it’s important to be prepared, but at the start of the process this type of perfectionism is more like procrastination. You’ve got to get in there and do. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits. ~ Twyla Tharp.

You don’t have a really good idea until you combine two little ideas.~ Twyla Tharp.

I don’t think that scheduling is uncreative. I think that structure is required for creativity. ~ Twyla Tharp.


The more you fail in private, the less you will fail in public. ~ Twyla Tharp.

My heroes are those who’ve prevailed over far greater losses than I’ve ever had to face. ~ Twyla Tharp.


Ultimately there is no such thing as failure. There are lessons learned in different ways. ~ Twyla Tharp.

This is the strange thing: Dancers don’t age. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Alone is a fact, a condition where no one else is around. Lonely is how you feel about that. ~ Twyla Tharp.

There are as many forms of memory as there are ways of perceiving, and every one of them is worth mining for inspiration. ~ Twyla Tharp.


A dancer’s life is all about repetition. ~ Twyla Tharp.

When you stimulate your body, your brain comes alive in ways you can’t simulate in a sedentary position. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Popular Twyla Tharp Quotes

Whom the gods wish to destroy, they give unlimited resources. ~ Twyla Tharp.

The thing about creativity is, people are going to laugh at it. Get over it. ~ Twyla Tharp.


The goal is to connect with something old so it becomes new. Look and imagine. ~ Twyla Tharp.

It is extremely arrogant and very foolish to think that you can ever outwit your audience. ~ Twyla Tharp.

If you’re speaking of love, you really must include the element of uncertainty – and perhaps it’s best approached as the art of constant maintenance. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Solitude is an unavoidable part of creativity. Self-reliance is a happy by-product. ~ Twyla Tharp.

The content and thematic materials of dance is, of itself, like boxing. You play tennis and baseball. But boxing is not a sport you play: you stand up and do it. ~ Twyla Tharp.


I’m a known reader. That’s what I do with my time. ~ Twyla Tharp.

By making the start of the sequence automatic, they replace doubt and fear with comfort and routine. ~ Twyla Tharp.

You have to believe there’s something at the other side. And you have to have faith in yourself. You have to think that you have the tools to accomplish it. ~ Twyla Tharp.

I have to feel that each thing I’ve learned I can push to another point next time. I’m not very good with repetition. I would rather not work than feel that repetition is the order of the day. ~ Twyla Tharp.

When it all comes together, a creative life has the nourishing power we normally associate with food, love and faith. ~ Twyla Tharp.


Perfect practice makes perfect. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Optimism with some experience behind it is much more energizing than plain old experience with a certain degree of cynicism. ~ Twyla Tharp.

The only thing I fear more than change is no change. The business of being static makes me nuts. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Failing, and learning from it, is necessary. Until you’ve done it, you’re missing an important piece of your creative arsenal. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Famous Twyla Tharp Quotes

Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity. But without proper preparation, I cannot see it, retain it, and use it. ~ Twyla Tharp.


Over time, as the daily routines become second nature, discipline morphs into habit. ~ Twyla Tharp.

The ballet needs to tell its own story in such a way it can be received without having to be translated into language. ~ Twyla Tharp.

To embrace luck, you have to enhance your tolerance for ambiguity. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Any comic is a tragic soul. Comedy is one of the things that allows one to survive. Particularly if one has been in the process of separating off the emotions, it’s one place you can process them. ~ Twyla Tharp.


Life is about moving, it’s about change. And when things stop doing that they’re dead. ~ Twyla Tharp.

I have always felt one of the things dance should do – its business being so clearly physical – is challenge the culture’s gender stereotypes. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home. ~ Twyla Tharp.

I have learned over the years that you should never save for two meetings what you can accomplish in one. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Better an imperfect dome in Florence than cathedrals in the clouds. ~ Twyla Tharp.


The more you know, the better you can imagine. ~ Twyla Tharp.

You don’t get into the mood to create – it’s discipline. ~ Twyla Tharp.

You don’t get lucky without preparation, and there’s no sense in being prepared if you’re not open to the possibility of a glorious accident. ~ Twyla Tharp.

If art is the bridge between what you see in your mind and what the world sees, then skill is how you build that bridge. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Doing is better than not doing, and if you do something badly you’ll learn to do it better. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Obligation is a flimsy base for creativity, way down the list behind passion, courage, instinct, and the desire to do something great. ~ Twyla Tharp.


We get into ruts when we run with the first idea that pops into our head, not the last one. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Whether or not God has kissed your brow, you still have to work. Without learning and preparation, you won’t know how to harness the power of that kiss. ~ Twyla Tharp.

The notion of the hero as outsider, as alien, is forget it, over, done with. It’s not about being against society anymore. It’s about standing there, holding something up. It’s not pulling away. ~ Twyla Tharp.

I would have to challenge the term, modern dance. I don’t really use that term in relation to my work. I simply think of it as dancing. I think of it as moving. ~ Twyla Tharp.


Every dance I make is a dive into this well of ancient memory. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Creativity requires quite a lot of faith – not just in yourself but also in the knowledge that you have the right to proceed, even when you may not know exactly what you’re doing. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Short Twyla Tharp Quotes

In creative endeavors luck is a skill. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Critics should be looked at simply as commentators. ~ Twyla Tharp.

I think that anyone who’s pushed to do the very best that they can is privileged. It’s a luxury. ~ Twyla Tharp.


You double your intensity with skill. ~ Twyla Tharp.

I read for growth, firmly believing that what you are today and what you will be in five years depends on two things: the people you meet and the books you read. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Concentrate: you can’t have it all. ~ Twyla Tharp.

So these were the top 80 Twyla Tharp quotes on creativity, style and dance.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Norman Cousins quotes and Richard Simmons quotes.

Share with others!
Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar