The internationally renowned choreographer Twyla Tharp was one of six recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors on December 7. Tharp and the other awardees—Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of The Who, Barbra Streisand, Morgan Freeman, and George Jones—were honored at a White House reception and at a Kennedy Center gala for their distinguished careers and contributions to the arts.
Tharp has choreographed more than 135 dances, five Hollywood movies, directed and choreographed three Broadway shows, and written two books since graduating from college in 1963. One of the Broadway shows was Movin’ Out, the Vietnam War-themed production done to the tune of 23 Billy Joel songs. VVA honored Tharp for that outstanding show with our President’s Award for Excellence in the Arts at the National Leadership Conference in in 2004 in Nashville.
Tharp gave a great acceptance speech in Nashville, and since then has been very supportive of VVA and Vietnam veterans. On her web site she lists the honors and awards she has received over the long career, and includes the VVA award among them. To wit: one Tony Award, two Emmy Awards, nineteen honorary doctorates, the Vietnam Veterans of America President’s Award, the 2004 National Medal of the Arts, the Jerome Robbins Prize, The Kennedy Center Honors and many grants including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship.