In the Upper Room

Dancers Angelina Sansone & Geoffrey Kropp. Photographer Steve Wilson.
Kansas City Ballet Dancers. Photographer Brett Pruitt & East Market Studio.

Choreography by Twyla Tharp
Staged by Shelley Washington and Gil Boggs
Music by Philip Glass
Lighting originally by Jennifer Tipton
Lighting realized by Trad A Burns
Original Costume Design by Norma Kamali

In 1986, Twyla Tharp commissioned composer Philip Glass to create a new score. The choreography fuses a broad spectrum of movement into one vigorous vocabulary; boxing, tap dance, yoga, ballet and full-out sprinting are intertwined. The dancers must push through the difficult steps, intricate timing and aerobic demands of the choreography.

The dancers appear and disappear through fog and lights. The costumes begin as black and white striped jumpsuits. As the piece progresses, the dancers shed layers of clothing, revealing bright red under-layers and sweaty skin.

In The Upper Room synthesizes choreography, costumes, music and lighting into a transcendent experience for both audience and performers. It has become a central piece in the repertories of dance companies worldwide.

Kansas City Ballet Premiere: Friday, May 10, 2019. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

World Premiere: August 28, 1986

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