American Masters: Twyla Moves

TCA Panelist Bios

Air date: 03/26/2021

American Masters: Twyla Moves


TCA Panelist Bios


Twyla Tharp
Dancer, director and choreographer; film subject



A pioneer of combining both modern dance and ballet, Twyla Tharp founded her dance company, Twyla Tharp Dance, in 1965. Her dances are known for creativity, wit and technical precision, coupled with a streetwise nonchalance. By combining different forms of movement—such as jazz, ballet, boxing and inventions of her own making—Tharp’s work expands the boundaries of ballet and modern dance. She has choreographed more than 160 works: 129 dances, 12 television specials, six Hollywood movies, four full-length ballets, four Broadway shows and two figure skating routines. She won a Tony Award for the Broadway musical “Movin’ Out,” two Emmy Awards for “Baryshnikov by Tharp” and has received 19 honorary doctorates. Her work in film includes collaborations with Miloš Forman on “Hair,” “Amadeus” and “Ragtime.” She was recipient of the 2004 National Medal of the Arts, the 2008 Jerome Robbins Prize and a 2008 Kennedy Center Honor. Her many grants include the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society and is an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is the author of several books, including her 1992 autobiography, “Push Comes to Shove” and the New York Times bestseller “The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life.”


Steven Cantor
Director, American Masters: Twyla Moves


Steven Cantor is the founder of New York City-based Stick Figure. Seven of his films have been nominated for Emmy Awards, with one winning, and he was nominated for an Academy Award for his first film. Notable works include the films “DANCER,” “Between Me and My Mind,” “loudQUIETloud: A Film about The Pixies,” “What Remains,” “STEP” and the American Masters film Willie Nelson: Still is Still Moving. He is currently working on films about a range of subjects, from Arthur Ashe to Misty Copeland to upcoming pop star Normani. Cantor also directs and executive produces television series through his Stick Figure banner, including the upcoming true crime thriller Relentless for Discovery+ and the music/travel series Hip Hop World for Amazon Prime.


Michael Kantor

American Masters Executive Producer



Michael Kantor joined American Masters as the series’ executive producer in April 2014 and founded its theatrical imprint, American Masters Pictures, in January 2016. American Masters Pictures premiered three films at Sundance Film Festival in 2019: Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear and Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am; and will premiere three new documentaries at Sundance this year. Recent American Masters programs include Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr StoryRaúl Juliá: The World’s a Stage, and Laura Ingalls Wilder: Prairie to Page. An Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker, Kantor’s PBS series include Broadway: The American Musical (hosted by Julie Andrews), Make ‘Em Laugh (hosted by Billy Crystal) and Superheroes (hosted by Liev Schreiber), and he co-wrote the companion books for each series. He served as executive producer of Give Me the Banjo with Steve Martin and distributes the American Film Theatre series, including Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance, starring Katharine Hepburn, and Chekhov’s Three Sisters with Laurence Olivier. Kantor serves as a Tony nominator and oversees the American Masters Podcast.