Demeter and Persephone

Demeter and Persephone
World premiere date
Premiere location place
New York, NY

Christine Dakin, Rika Okamoto, Terese Capucilli

Handmaidens: Joyce Herring, Myra Woodruff

Camille Brown, Floyd Flynn, Peter London, Theresa Maldonado, Miki Orihara

Total number of dancers
Other program information

Assistant to Ms. Tharp: Jamie Bishton

Two years after Martha Graham’s death, Tharp created a new work for Graham’s company – the first choreographer ever to do so. "I thought of [her] early female companies and of my female companies,” Tharp recalls. “I thought of Graham as a female artist and how indebted I was to her for all that she has done in that area." Demeter and Persephone was created as a gift of thanks for her influence and to revisit the technique Tharp studied under Graham in 1962.

Tharp combines Greek mythology and Yiddish theater in this work about mothers, daughters and the matrilineal tradition of modern dance. Christine Dakin, who joined the company in 1976, danced the role of Demeter, while Rika Okamoto danced the role of her daughter Persephone. The final dancer to join the company before Graham’s passing, Okamoto was the last of Graham’s direct lineage.

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    Tharp rehearses with the Martha Graham Dance Company. ©Jesse Huot
  • image
    Tharp in rehearsal with the Martha Graham Dance Company. © Jesse Huot
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Video Description

Dancers of the Martha Graham Dance Company in studio and dress rehearsal.

Full music program

Bulgur A La Klezmatics
Performed by The Klezmatics
From the album "Rhythm and Jews"
Released by Pirahna/Rounder - 1990

Theme, Doina and Freylekhs 21
Performed by The West End Klezmorim
From the album "Freylekhs 21"
Released by Global Village Music - 1991

Ir Kleyne Likhtelekh (Oh, You Little Lights)
Performed by the Klezmer Conservatory
Released by Rounder

Music details
Music track
Audio sample

Bulgur A La Klezmatics
Performed by The Klezmatics

Demeter And Persephone (premiere) | Martha Graham Dance Company
New York City Center
New York, NY
Fever - Sextet - Demeter & Persephone - Nine Sinatra Songs - Baker's Dozen | Twyla Tharp Dance
New York City Center
New York, NY
Fever - Octet - Demeter and Persephone - In The Upper Room | Twyla Tharp Dance
New York City Center
New York, NY