Twyla Tharp b. 1941
In the Upper Room (1986)
Choreography by Twyla Tharp
Music by Philip Glass

World premiere date
August 28, 1986
Premiere company
Twyla Tharp Dance
Premiere location venue
Murray Theatre at Ravinia
Premiere location place
Highland Park, IL
Philip Glass
Costume designer
Norma Kamali
Lighting designer
Jennifer Tipton
The Norman and Rosita Winston Foundation
Dance sections
I. Washington, Stasick and Carrafa, O'Day and Bishton

II. Washington, Stasick, Foldi, Oppenheimer and Colton, Whitener, Foster, Nakagawa, Troy, Santee

III. Washington, O'Day, Foldi, Carrafa, Stasick, Bishton

IV. Colton, Whitener, Foster, Nakagawa, Troy, Santee

V. Washington, Stasick, Foldi and Carrafa. O'Day, Bishton

VI. Stasick, Whitener and Washington, Colton

VII. Carrafa, O'Day, Bishton

VIII. Oppenheimer, Colton, Whitener, Foster, Nakagawa, Troy, Santee

IX. Full Company

Erzsebet Foldi, Stephanie Foster, Julie Nakagawa, Cathy Oppenheimer, Karen Stasick, Ellen Troy, Shelley Washington

Jamie Bishton, John Carrafa, Richard Colton, Kevin O'Day, Kevin Santee, William Whitener
Total number of dancers 13
Other program information
Music Produced by Kurt Munkacsi
Music conducted by Michael Riesman

Commissioned by the Twyla Tharp Foundation

1. Dance I
2. Dance II
3. Dance III
4. Dance IV
5. Dance V
6. Dance VI
7. Dance VII
8. Dance VIII
9. Dance IX

In the Upper Room is a dance/theater collaboration between choreographer Twyla Tharp and composer Philip Glass.

In the Upper Room from 1986, with music by Phillip Glass, choreography by Twyla Tharp. It's really impossible to convey in words just how brilliant this 40 minute piece is.

There are thirteen dancers in the cast, and Tharp had code names for the different groupings. There are the modern dancers in sneakers, named the Stompers, the Ballet Couples (somewhat self-explanatory), and the pair of female dancers in all red ballet attire known as the Bomb Squad. Nobody seems to know the exact reason for the last name, but one of the dancers in last night's show was of the opinion that it came about because their dancing is so frenetic it seems like they're on a mission to attack something. About 50 sec into the piece linked below, the Bomb Squad appears briefly in their all red attire and you can see them for about 20 sec as they dance their way through the other performers. The music, choreograpy and costumes all work together brilliantly. You have to see the whole thing to appreciate the costumes, as most of the dancers start off in the black and white stripes with hints of red here and there. As the piece unfolds, the costumes morph with the music into more and more red. Just amazing.