Persephone (2004)

Persephone explores the Greek myth of Persephone, who is so admired by Hades that he abducts her and forces her to live with him as queen of the underworld. Grief-stricken, her mother Demeter causes all of nature on earth to die until she wins Persephone’s temporary release from the underworld each spring.

Composer Tigger Benford creates a polyrhythmic score based on Javanese gamelan musical structures and using amadinda, marimba, shakuhachi flute, piano, hand drums, bells, gongs, and conch shell with text written by Benford and sung by the cast.

Direction: Jane Comfort
Choreography: Jane Comfort and Company
Music: Tigger Benford
Set Design: Keith Sonnier
Lighting Design: David Ferri
Costumes: Liz Prince
Dramaturgy: Jim Lewis

Cast:
Persephone: Cynthia Bueschel Svigals
Demeter: Aleta Hayes
Hades: Olase Freeman
Inhabitants of the Upper and Underworlds: Elizabeth Haselwood, Lisa Niedermeyer and Steve Nunley
Musicians: Tigger Benford, Peter Jones, Martha Partridge and James Schlefer

Funding:
Commission by The Joyce Theater Foundation and the NPN Creation Fund, with additional support from the Rockefeller MAP Fund, Mary Flagler Cary Foundation, Altria and Bates Dance Festival

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09_Persephone_Underworld
10_Persephone_KeithSonnierSculpture
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14_Persephone_demeterscream
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“For Jane Comfort’s dancers, every movement arises from an emotion or prepares us for one. Nothing looks too symbolic or virtuosic. Nothing is extraneous to the story. And through it all there is the pure beauty of dance, of bodies attuned to music, to one another and to the space they live in.”

– The New York Times

“Linear narrative rarely makes an appearance in postmodern dance-dramas. Jane Comfort’s new Persephone, surprisingly and refreshingly, contains no intertextual byplay or collaging. She retells the legend of a mother’s loss and a daughter’s double life with touching simplicity and elegant compositional craft.”

- The Village Voice