Short Stories


Short Stories differs from Tharp’s previous works to popular music in two distinct ways: the first being that the subject matter is much darker, at times even violent. The second is in the way Tharp folds the lyric text into the narrative of the dance. The dramatic scenes unfold in sequences of complex partnering and dance phrases layered with mimetic gestures.

The opening section presents three couples and the attractions and jealousies between them. The song ends as three “love ‘em and leave ‘em” men walk away from the woman who was once the object of their interest.

A second scenario of love and envy is presented in the next section. Tensions mount between two couples – one easy and lyrical, the other charged and edgy – until it comes to blows in a final slow-motion struggle.


  • Washington, Carrafa and company dancers perform "Loverboy." ©Martha Swope


Excerpts from studio rehearsal footage that was shot and edited as a storyboard for the taping of Confessions of a Cornermaker.
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Music Program:

1. Lover Boy
Performed by Supertramp
Written by Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson
From the Album “Even In The Quietest Moments” – 1977
Released by A&M Records

2. Jungleland
Written and Performed by Bruce Springsteen
From The Album “Born To Run” – 1975
Released by Columbia Records

Audio Sample: 

Lover Boy
By Supertramp

Audio Sample: 

By Bruce Springsteen

Performance History

Twyla Tharp Dance
Murray Theater at Ravinia, Highland Park, IL
August 27, 1980

Additional performances on August 29 & 31, 1980
Works on this program: The Rags Suite, Short Stories (premiere), The Fugue, Brahms Paganini

Twyla Tharp Dance
Festival van Vlaanderen, Ghent, Belgium
September 30, 1980
Twyla Tharp Dance
Teatro Nazionale, Milan, Italy
October 16, 1980

Additional performances October 17-19, 1980
Works on this program: Brahms Paganini, Short Stories, The Fugue, Eight Jelly Rolls

Twyla Tharp Dance
Victory Theater, Dayton, OH
February 27, 1981

Works on this program: Eight Jelly Rolls, Third Suite (excerpt), Short Stories, Baker's Dozen

Twyla Tharp Dance
Winter Garden Theatre, New York, NY
September 24, 1981

Additional performances on September 26-17, October 3, 6, 10-11 & 17-18, 1981
Works on this program: The Bix Pieces, Assorted Quartets, Short Stories, Baker's Dozen

Twyla Tharp Dance
Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver, Canada
October 14, 1982
Twyla Tharp Dance
Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver, Canada
October 16, 1982
Twyla Tharp Dance
The Annenberg Center, Philadelphia, PA
February 9, 1985

Works on this program: Sorrow Floats, Short Stories, Baker's Dozen