By Twyla Tharp
Published November 24, 2009 (Hardcover) Simon and Schuster
“Collaboration is the buzzword of the new millennium.” So begins The Collaborative Habit, and when author/choreographer Twyla Tharp blends in the dance, I find it irresistible.
The lone hero, she says, are yesterday’s role models. And, in fact, when I visit MBA schools, gathering interviews and natural classroom sound, for podcasts, I notice the schools are pounding that point more and more into the minds of future CEO’s.
Twyla talks of working with Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, Merce Cunningham, Joffrey – fabulous choreographers who won my young heart. Living in the NY area, I saw them perform dozens of times, and fell in love every move they made. I took classes with their proteges. Oh, I wasn’t a good dancer, barely intermediate – I simply loved movement, and blending my emotion with the emotion in the dancers around me. Tharp writes of her collaboration as a female choreographer in the early seventies with choreographers of vastly different styles – and the wild contrasts worked!
“You need a challenging partner. In a good collaboration, differences between partners mean that one plus one will always equal more than two.” Twyla’s words. And, she quotes Charles Darwin as well, saying that it’s the most adaptable that survives, not the most intelligent or the strongest.
Then she pulls back the curtains on her choreography for one of my all-time favorite movies – Gregory Hines and Mikhail Baryshnikov in White Nights. OMG, I’m in heaven now. Perfect illustration of collaboration.
I am reminded how, in the early days of my radio career, all the stations were families, and as time when on, and corporations snapped them up for millions – laying off talent when they couldn’t satisfy stockholders – we fractured, and mourned this loss of our “family” members. Now, I am constantly being reminded of the mysterious bonding of social networking – as we all are – to reach out to others for support, for ideas, to make each of us greater than the mathematical equivalent. To collaborate.
Twyla Tharp’s writing is energetic and rhythmic, pulsing with wisdom. When I hear music I love, I “see” the dance. When I read Twyla’s book, I can “see” the choreography.