Modern dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp was born in Portland, Indiana. As a child, Tharp was an accomplished musician, dancer, and athlete. In the early 1960s, she went to New York City to study dance, and she performed with the Paul Taylor Dance Company from 1963 to 1965. Then, in 1965, she formed her own small company, focusing her efforts on choreographing severe modern-dance works. As both a dancer and a choreographer, Tharp is noted for her ability to create dance with a popular appeal without losing integrity or depth. Although her first works were rather somber and highly structured in style, her later works have often captured a more whimsical note. Eight Jelly Rolls (1971), for example, delighted audiences with its dancing set to the jazz piano music of "Jelly Roll" Morton. Other enormously popular works include Coupe (1973), a piece set to music by the Beach Boys, and Push Comes to Shove (1976), which was choreographed for the ballet star Mikhail Baryshnikov. In addition to creating works for her own company, Tharp has created commissioned pieces for a number of other dance companies, for films, and for nondancers in such other entertainment fields as ice-skating and sports. These works include Bach Partita (1984), created for American Ballet Theatre, When We Were Very Young (1980) and The Catherine Wheel (1983), created for Broadway, and dance numbers created for the films Hair (1979) and White Knights (1985).