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Henry Butler

Twyla Tharp's 50th anniversary program, while graceful, becomes predictable

Twyla Tharp's 50th anniversary program, while graceful, becomes predictable

Twyla Tharp once choreographed different recordings of Frank Sinatra singing "My Way" in the same piece. That double dose of self-aggrandizement should have prepared us for her 50th anniversary tour, a project that keeps her in the spotlight (if offstage) while rebuilding her reputation as a serious dance-maker after weak ballets and Broadway jukebox musicals tarnished it in recent years.

The tour arrived at the Wallis Annenberg Center on Thursday, deploying a dozen excellent dancers in two new works preceded by brief, celebratory dance fanfares. Set against piano performances of Bach excerpts (16 of them, plus repeats), "Preludes and Fugues" offered the same...

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