So far this month, we’ve focused our attention on famous ballets. What happens when you combine aspects of ballet and modern dance? The result is a stunning production choreographed by Twyla Tharp to the music of Philip Glass.
In the Upper Room premiered in 1986 and breaks down the barrier that began to form between ballet and modern dance in the twentieth century. Tharp incorporates two groups of dancers—modern dancers wearing tennis shoes and ballet dancers wearing pointe shoes. She referred to her modern dancers as “stompers” and the ballet dancers as the “bomb squad.” In the Upper Room incorporates a variety of dance types including boxing, yoga, ballet, and tap, set to the minimalistic music of Philip Glass. Costumes and lighting add to the experience, dancers moving in and out of a heavenly, fog-filled stage.
Below you can watch a few excerpts from In the Upper Room. What do you think? Do you prefer this type of modern dance over some of the more traditional ballets we talked about earlier this month?