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Limón Dance Company - 60th Anniversary Celebration

by Jennifer Wesnousky
November 26, 2006
The Joyce Theater
175 Eighth Avenue (at the corner of 19th Street)
New York, NY 10011
212-242-0800

Featured Dance Company:

The Limón Dance Company
The José Limón Dance Foundation (office)
307 W. 38th Street, Suite 1105
New York, NY 10018
(212) 777-3353
www.limon.org

A standout image from the cast of the Limón Dance Company's final performance at the Joyce Theater on Sunday, November 26, 2006 includes the utter strength and control of their usually bare feet. Whether rolling up onto half-toe at painfully slow speeds or using them as spring boards with which to leap, the Limón dancers exerted technical, choreographic and expressive qualities from sturdy and grounded to sprightly and light throughout three vastly different pieces.

The evening's corps piece, the "Suite" from A Choreographic Offering was rife with attitudes (classical ballet positions in which the dancer stands on one leg with the other bent at an angle) of all varieties- to the side, back and front, crouching, leaning and hopping, done solo and in pairs- as well as a spectrum of emotional attitudes from gleeful to aloof. Simple but pretty costumes- the girls in two-tone dresses and the boys in fitted pants and shirts, all in a multitude of purple hues- allowed José Limón's choreographic creativity to shine. Divided into segments including two "Solos," a "Duet," a "Quintet," a "Solo with Four" and two "Dances for Thirteen," the ever-changing cast, pace and feeling kept the audience enthusiastically enthralled. During the slow section, the dancers' muscles actually began to quiver, not due to any error, but rather sheer calculated control. In other segments, the same dancers appeared almost weightless, leaping across the stage in unison, like gazelles.

Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejías, based on Federico Garcia Lorca's poem of the same name, was a dramatic departure from the previous number, portraying the tragic demise of a famous matador. While Kristen Foote's smile stood out in "Suite," here, she personified the Guardian of Destiny, seeming to advocate the hero's tragic fate as she confronted him head on, making symbolic and choreographic use of the red rope that encircled her arm and flowing, long black frock. All three members of the three-person piece, unique in that the two female characters had spoken parts, delivered technically and emotionally charged performances. Foote and Ryoko Kudo, as the Witness and Mourner, dueled verbally and choreographically as Kudo vehemently resisted Destiny's claim that Ignacio was doomed to eternal oblivion. The audience, however, will surely not forget Ignacio, personified by Roel Seeber, whose lithe frame executed controlled turns and electrifying leaps in addition to his own death's captivating choreographic enactment.

The four-person Day on Earth, featuring a performance beyond the years of young Lina Dahbour, as the Child, continued the surreal sensation of the previous piece to close the evening. In this apparently family-themed drama, Doris Humphrey utilized choreographic contrast to express emotional evolution when, for example, the Man and Woman's quick quivering of the feet within joyous jumps turned to slow, drawn out movement and feigned weeping upon the departure of their young daughter. As the Man, Bradley Shelver delivered a particularly musical performance.

It was no surprise that the Limón Dance Company received one of the Joyce Theater audiences' most enthusiastic responses. Whether moving slowly or rapidly or expressing pain or happiness, the dancers' technical command enabled the audience to trust them completely to be in the moment, take technical, choreographic and expressive risks and push the boundaries of their muscular and emotional limits.




José Limón and Doris Humphrey, Founders

CARLA MAXWELL, Artistic Director

DONALD McKAYLE, Artistic Mentor

ROXANE D'ORLÉANS JUSTE, Artistic Associate

The Company: KATHRYN ALTER, RAPHAËL BOUMAÏLA, MORGANA CRAGNOTTI, LINA DAHBOUR, ELIAN DE SOTO, KATIE DIAMOND, KURT DOUGLAS, KRISTEN FOOTE, JONATHAN FREDRICKSON, ROXANE D'ORLÉANS JUSTE, RYOKO KUDO, BRENNA MONROE-COOK, JONATHAN RIEDEL, FRANCISCO RUVALCABA ROEL SEEBER, BRADLEY SHELVER

Music: American Virtuosi, Kenneth Hamrick, Artistic Director

Randal M. Fippinger, Executive Director
Limón Dance Company - A Choreographic Offering

Limón Dance Company - A Choreographic Offering

Photo © & courtesy of Rosalie O'Connor

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