Fellow: Awarded 2010
Field of Study: Choreography
Competition: US & Canada
A multitalented artist who is esteemed for her brilliant interweaving of dance, language (spoken, sung, and signed), stage design, and music, Jane Comfort has been creating imaginative, moving, and thought-provoking theatrical works for over thirty years. Her interdisciplinary collaborations with such artists as composer Toshi Reagon, puppeteer Basil Twist, spoken-word artist Carl Hancock Rux, instrumentalist DJ Spooky, and sculptor Keith Sonnier have produced such celebrated works as Persephone (2004), an multilayered interpretation of the Greek myth; the BESSIE award winning Underground River (1998), which takes the audience through mind of a person drifting in and out of a coma; S/He (1995), a gender and race reversal of the Clarence Thomas hearings.
Ms. Comfort has also worked on Broadway productions. She choreographed the musical Passion by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, which won four Tony awards; Amour by Michel Legrand; Shakespeare in the Park’s Much Ado About Nothing; and the Off-Broadway musical Wilder at Playwrights Horizon; among others.
Her work has been presented at Lincoln Center, PS 122, Danspace Project, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the American Center in Paris, and the International Festival of Londrina, Brazil, and at many other renowned venues, and has been commissioned by the Alvin Ailey School, American Dance Festival, National Performance Network (NPN), Stanford University, and most recently Ballet Memphis, to name a few.
She has received thirteen NEA grants, multiple NYSCA grants, and grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the American Music Center, Mary Flagler Cary Foundation, Meet the Composer, Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund, JP Morgan, the Harkness Foundation, and Bossak/Heilbron, among many other sources.
Jane Comfort has also been committed to developing the talents of other choreographers and artists as a board member of The Field since 1998, an artist advisor to the Bates Dance Festival, and cofounder of the Gender Project. She is also currently an artist mentor to emerging femal choreographers through the Sugar Salon.
During her Guggenheim Fellowship term, she will be completing work on her latest dance/theater project Beauty, which will explore the changing notions of female beauty in America over the past fifty years.