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Twyla Tharp Quotes

Twyla Tharp

Twyla Tharp quotes: beautifully-choreographed content from the American dancer.

“Optimism with some experience behind it is much more energizing than plain old experience with a certain degree of cynicism.”

“Without passion, all the skill in world won’t lift you above your craft.”

“Obligation… is not the same as commitment, and it’s certainly not an acceptable reason to stick with something that isn’t working.”

“Before you can think out of the box, you have to start with a box.”

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

“Too much planning implies you’ve got it all under control.  That’s boring, unrealistic and dangerous.”

“Don’t sign on for more problems than you must.  Resist the temptation to involve yourself in other people’s zones of expertise and responsibility.  Monitor troublesome situations if you need to, but don’t insert yourself unless you’re running out of time and a solution is nowhere in sight.  In short, stifle your inner control freak.”

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

“If you’re at a dead end, take a deep breath, stamp your foot, and shout, ‘Begin!’  You never know where it will take you.”

“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.”

“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.”

“The only thing I fear more than change is no change.  The business of being static makes me nuts.”

“There’s nothing wrong with fear; the only mistake is to let it stop you in your tracks.  They key is to learn how to keep free-floating fears from paralyzing you before you’ve begun.”

“If you only do what you know and do it very, very well, chances are that you won’t fail.  You’ll just stagnate, and your work will get less and less interesting, and that’s failure by erosion.”

“Venturing out of your comfort zone may be dangerous, yet do it anyways because our ability to grow is directly proportional to an ability to entertain the uncomfortable.”

“People are terrified of change.  The notion that what we experienced as young people becomes nearer and dearer to our hearts as we age.  We keep believing that, somehow, we’ll get the young thing back.  But it’s not going to happen, so you might as well revise your thinking.”

“There are mighty demons, but they’re hardly unique to me.  You probably share some.  If I let them, they’ll shut down my impulses (‘No, you can’t do that!’) and perhaps turn off the spigots of creativity altogether.  So I combat my fears with a staring-down ritual, like a boxer looking his opponent right in the eye before a bout.”

“You are never lonely when the mind is engaged.”

“Distractions and fears… are the dangerous ones.  They’re the habitual demons that invade the launch of any project.  No one starts a creative endeavor without a certain amount of fear; the key is to learn how to keep free-floating fears from paralyzing you before you’ve begun.  When I feel that sense of dread, I try to make it as specific as possible.”

“Let me tell you my five big fears: people will laugh at me, someone has done it before, I have nothing to say, I will upset someone I love, and once executed, the idea will never be as good as it is in my mind.”

“People will laugh at me?  Not the people I respect; they haven’t yet, and they’re not going to start now.”

“Someone has done it before?  Honey, it’s all been done before.  Nothing’s original.  Not Homer or Shakespeare and certainly not you.  Get over yourself.”

“I have nothing to say?  An irrelevant fear.  We all have something to say.”

“I will upset someone I love?  A serious worry that is not easily exorcised or stared down because you never know how loved ones will respond to your creation.  The best you can do is remind yourself that you’re a good person with good intentions.  You’re trying to create unity, not discord.”

“Once executed, the idea will never be as good as it is in my mind?  Toughen up.  Leon Battista Alberti, the 15th century architectural theorist, said, ‘Errors accumulate in the sketch and compound in the model.’  But better an imperfect dome in Florence than cathedrals in the clouds.”

“Life is about moving, it’s about change.  And when things stop doing that they’re dead.”

“You have to be willing to change.  There’s so much involved with what I call status quo bias.  People in a comfort zone.  You need to say, ‘On occasion, this serves me and this doesn’t.  It’s just a habit.  So, let’s set that aside and move on.'”

“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.”

“Creativity is an act of defiance.  The thing about creativity is, people are going to laugh at it.  Get over it.”

“Creativity is more about taking the facts, fictions, and feelings we store away and finding new ways to connect them.  What we’re talking about here is metaphor.  Metaphor is the lifeblood of all art, if it is not art itself.  Metaphor is our vocabulary for connecting what we are experiencing now with what we have experienced before.  It’s not only how we express what we remember, it’s how we interpret it—for ourselves and others.”

“A lot of habitually creative people have preparation rituals linked to the setting in which they choose to start their day.  By putting themselves into that environment, they start their creative day.”

“There is no ideal condition for creativity.  What works for one person is useless for another.  The only criterion is this: make it easy on yourself.  Find a working environment where the prospect of wrestling with your muse doesn’t scare you, doesn’t shut you down.  It should make you want to be there, and once you find it, stick with it.  To get the creative habit, you need a working environment that’s habit-forming.  All preferred working states, no matter how eccentric, have one thing in common: when you enter into them, they compel you to get started.”

“Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits.  That’s it in a nutshell.”

“Reading, conversation, environment, culture, heroes, mentors, nature—all are lottery tickets for creativity.  Scratch away at them and you’ll find out how big a prize you’ve won.”

“Reading is your first line of defense against an empty head.”

“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.”

“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.”

“Expect aging to be a positive experience and do whatever you can to support that expectation.  Aging isn’t easy, and anyone who says it is isn’t experiencing it.  Obviously, there are challenges.  The body is insulting the mind, which remembers things that were once possible.”

“As we get older, there are more options, not fewer.  It becomes less than what it once was rather than just the opposite: an accumulation of knowledge and experiences and options.  Mixing and matching becomes much more possible with age.  One should be able to wake up every morning at age 75 and think anything it possible.”

“On looking back on my life, the organized thread has been commitment.  I decided that the physical body was a very wise instrument and I would investigate its possibilities.  You don’t want to have a goal that you can accomplish.  You want one that will continuously pull you along to the next discovery.”

“My dream for the future is unity.  I hope for unity for myself in my endeavors.  I hope for unity for this country, for unity globally.  Unity.”

Related: Juanita Bynum quotes.

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