The opening section of Torelli is a unison presentation of eight fundamental movement phrases in silence.  Each dancer then takes his or her place in a pool of light and music plays to indicate the start of the second section, wherein the eight phrases are manipulated and restructured on the spot. At the Galerie Theatre in Paris, the audience was encouraged to walk amongst the dancers, viewing the performance from within, as well as from the perimeter of the performance space. This work was first performed as the opening section of Sunrise/Noon/Sundown, in Fort Tryon Park, 1971.

Torelli is one of the works in the Tharp repertory that has evolved into a pedagogical project for dancers.  It explores ways in which given material can be manipulated and encourages instinctive decision-making skills. 


  • Wright, Nina Wiener and Rinker rehearse in the Los Angeles Cultural Center in 1972.  ©LA Times


Brief excerpts from the premiere performance.
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Music Program:

Violin Concerto Opus 8 n. 7 in D Minor, For Solo Violin, String & Continuo
Composed by Guiseppe Torelli
Published by Unicorn Records in 1956

Performance History

Twyla Tharp and Dancers
November 2, 1971

Additional performances on November 3-7, 1971
Works on this program: Torelli (premiere), Piano Rolls (premiere), The Fugue, Eight Jelly Rolls

Twyla Tharp Dance
East Los Angeles College, Los Angeles, CA
April 9, 1972

Works on this program: Torelli, Eight Jelly Rolls, The Fugue

Twyla Tharp Dance
Inner City Theater, Los Angeles, CA
April 14, 1972

Works on this program: Torelli, The Bix Pieces (premiere), The Fugue

Twyla Tharp Dance
April 22, 1972

Works on this program: Torelli, Eight Jelly Rolls, The Fugue

Montclair, NJ
September 12, 2008
Durham, NC
November 1, 2008
Kansas City, MO
November 7, 2008
Hartsville, SC
January 1, 2009
Joffrey Ballet School, New York, NY
July 20, 2009
Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA
April 15, 2010
Yale University, New Haven, CT
September 1, 2012

Presented during a semester-long workshop

Rochester, MI
February 22, 2013

Master class

Varner Recital Hall, Rochester, MI
December 5, 2013

Additional performances on December 6 (eve) & 7 (mat & eve), 2013

February 14, 2014

Additional performances on February 15 & 16.

October 18, 2014
May 26, 2017
Additional performance on May 27, 2017
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