Twyla Tharp. Unstoppable at 79, a force of nature.

Twyla Tharp. Unstoppable at 79, a force of nature. It's great. Is she done yet? No way. She has a new documentary out on PBS American Masters. I also like this earlier clip from two years ago, with a less filtered Twyla: "Don't accept the rumor that as the body ages it becomes less. It becomes different." She is a hero.

In her new book, “Keep It Moving,” the choreographer applies the lessons of a lifetime in dance to an ordinary body. Yours.

Take up space. Stretch. Move your body.

“God gives you one gift: You get to be born,” the choreographer Twyla Tharp said. “Thereafter, you’ve got to take care of ityourself.”

Her new book, “Keep It Moving: Lessons for the Rest of Your Life,” doesn’t have anything to do with chasing youth. No, no, no — to Ms. Tharp, 79, that is a losing proposition. But it’s not over until it’s over. “The figures are still shocking in terms of people who don’t exercise or who are not aware of the reality that diet is actually extremely important,” she said. “If you want to have a future, you’ve got to provide for that now.”

And Ms. Tharp, a dance pioneer and Tony-Award-winning choreographer, is ready to assist. She has already written two books about how to better yourself using the tools of an artist: “The Creative Habit” (2003), a best seller, and “The Collaborative Habit” (2009). “Keep It Moving,” a follow-up, applies those tools to finding purpose and growth as you age, no matter what age you are.


Twyla Tharp’s new book, “Keep It Moving,” is about finding purpose and growth as you age.
Credit...Cole Barash for The New York Times

Not that “Keep It Moving,” to be published by Simon & Schuster on Oct. 29, is a self-help book exactly, though it’s full of bits of wisdom: “After we terrorize ourselves with self-doubt, our only relief is to get moving again.” And there is practical advice, too. Never, for instance, fight a fall.

Above all, Ms. Tharp is a motivator. The text is illustrated not with pictures, but with descriptions of simple exercises: Each chapter features one, ranging from “Squirm,” a wriggling sequence of motions that she recommends trying out in bed, to “Take Up Space,” which is both a physical and mental act. Here, she connects the reader to a dancer’s intuitive way of moving bigger, with amplitude. “You can think the same way in your everyday movements,” she writes. “When you walk, think of yourself striding, not just taking mingy steps.”

The brain is one thing; the body is quicker. “We all think the mind is smarter, and excuse me!” she said in her galvanizing way. The body’s reflexes, she continued, are “much faster than the brain can process and come up with a concept.”

“That’s all I’m saying here,” she explained. “Everybody get connected to your body.”

But how does she do that?

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