Swans Commentary » swans.com November 21, 2011  



Come Fly Away


by Charles Marowitz




(Swans - November 21, 2011)   On those rare occasions when two artists of equal brilliance connect, a powerful symbiosis is born and art is powerfully replenished. Something of that sort happened at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood a few weeks back when Twyla Tharp's choreography coalesced with the songs of Frank Sinatra and a special kind of fusion rocked the theatre.

Tharp has transformed the art of modern dance, producing a kind of aesthetic frenzy that stretches the imagination of both her dancers and those members of the audience who never believed ballet could delve so deeply or produce such tantalizing results.

The dances are accompanied by many of the songs, which, over the years, have become unmistakably associated with the crooner from New Jersey. As these numbers sizzle in the background, Tharp's dancers weave a series of vignettes about frustrated love, rejection, and rapture. Throughout the run of eighty minutes, there is a constant undercurrent of sexuality with male dancers tossing female partners from one suitor to another while elements of breakdancing and moonwalking compete with modern choreography accompanied by the recorded voice of Sinatra as he bemoans lovers lost and hearts broken. The show's title, Come Fly Away, is very apt as these dancers are airborn for most of the performance.

Over the years, Tharp has developed a style that is all her own, combining athleticism and narrative. In traditional ballet we are enthralled with the brilliance of the dancers' technique; with Tharp we follow a clear-cut storyline: lovers at odds with one another, pursuits and rejections; a tendency to express heartbreak and using movement to embellish a story that expresses romantic collisions. This is the same subject matter that becomes joyously upbeat in Sinatra's songs in which lost loves are bereaved.

On the face of it, the combination of a crooner and a slew of modern dancers would appear to be incompatible, but in this fusion one art form replenishes the other.

The title is very apt. The invitation to Come Fly Away is escapism of the highest order and well worth the trip.


To e-mail this article


· · · · · ·


If you find Charles Marowitz's work valuable, please consider helping us

· · · · · ·



Feel free to insert a link to this work on your Web site or to disseminate its URL on your favorite lists, quoting the first paragraph or providing a summary. However, DO NOT steal, scavenge, or repost this work on the Web or any electronic media. Inlining, mirroring, and framing are expressly prohibited. Pulp re-publishing is welcome -- please contact the publisher. This material is copyrighted, © Charles Marowitz 2011. All rights reserved.


Have your say

Do you wish to share your opinion? We invite your comments. E-mail the Editor. Please include your full name, address and phone number (the city, state/country where you reside is paramount information). When/if we publish your opinion we will only include your name, city, state, and country.


About the Author

Charles Marowitz on Swans -- with bio.   (back)


· · · · · ·


Internal Resources

Film & Theatre

Book Reviews

Arts & Culture

Patterns which Connect

· · · · · ·


This edition's other articles

Check the front page, where all current articles are listed.



Check our past editions, where the past remains very present.

· · · · · ·


[About]-[Past Issues]-[Archives]-[Resources]-[Copyright]



Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
URL for this work: http://www.swans.com/library/art17/cmarow193.html
Published November 21, 2011