THEVARS is a contemporary dance theatre and film ensemble centred around the work of Canadian choreographer Gabreïl Spiegelschrift.

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Wind: "Earth, Wind and the Underground" - 1995

Persephone Solo | a film by Antonia Thompson

Earth, Wind and the Underground’ (1995) the 2nd dance-film collaboration with filmmaker Antonia Thompson was divided into sections, Gabreïl Spiegelschrift choreographing Wind, D.A. Hoskins choreographing Earth and a combination of the works used for the Underground segment. To the music of Rhea's Obsession, the ‘Wind’ or Persephone solo, featuring Nichole LaRochelle, was the first of several women's solos thematically inspired by de Sade'sLes 120 journées de Sodome ou l'école du libertinage.’

Adapted from a series of poems, ‘Excerps of Vanessa - Persephone's Songs’ written by teenage Gabreïl, the piece was originally conceived as a modern retelling of the Hades and Persephone stories. A fractured ‘duet’ of a man and a woman solo joined by a rope bound to one leg that ran through a series of pulleys that would adjust the positions of the dancers accordingly. For the Persephone portion the imagery of the of the young female heroine, with eternal ennui, caught in the phantom winds of the underworld were juxtaposed to the controlled sleek movements of Hades represented as an archer hanging inverted from the attached rope.

Re-Envisioned for film, the female solo maintained the inspiration with the role of Hades transformed into an ever present third party voyeur. Stylistically the solo represented Gabreïl's boldest foray into interrupting the aesthetic of Graham based modern dance to balance with the aesthetic of D.A. Hoskins and Antonia Thomson's vision. The power house technicality of Nichole LaRochelle was displayed as distinctly strong and distinctly feminine.

A film re-adaption of the solo is the focus of the dancefilm ‘Caoineadh Pheirsefine’ (2009) and the theatric version ‘Lachóigín sa choill’ (2009).

technical details

  • director
    Antonia Thompson
  • producer
    Antonia Thompson
  • dance created and choreographed by
    Gabreïl Spiegelschrift/ Antonia Thompson
  • developed with/performed by
    Nichole LaRochelle
  • music
    Rhea's Obsession
  • set
    G. Spiegelschrift, A. Thompson & Aarron Michelsen
  • light
    A. Thompson & Sunny Thrasher
  • note
    beta sp; black and white
  • thanks & dedications
    full technical credits are provided in video.
  • premiere
    1995-06-01 Toronto, Canada
  • duration
    7 mins.

photo Antonia Thompson

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