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José Limón, Dancer, Choreographer

by Marian Horosko
November 12, 2008
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

There was no one like him. He came from the most unlikely circumstances in Culiacá, Mexico. Born in 1908, he moved to California in 1915; to New York in 1928 to study painting. But his first experience with seeing dance changed his life. He enrolled in the Humphrey-Weidman school and from 1930 to 1940 performed in their works. In 1946, he formed his own company with Humphrey as artistic director and became part of modern dance history. He was a majestic figure on stage, a choreographer with powerful messages: "There is a Time," "Missa Brevis," "The Moor's Pavane," and 74 other works of depth, humanity and reverence. Limón's technique is unmistakable, powerful, masculine, heroic.

As eloquently as he danced, in his unfinished memoir (Wesleyan University Press) Limón describes his journey as performer, choreographer and teacher.

The centennial season of the José Limón American Dance Company plays December 2-7 at the Joyce Theater under the direction of Carla Maxwell, a former dancer in the company. Since 1978, she has maintained his technique and works miraculously in his spirit and in the commissioning of new works.

The season includes "Rooms" (1955) by Anna Sokolow, an unremitting commentator on society. New, is Clay Taliaferro's, "In my Heart's House," a touching tribute to his teacher incorporating the technique, choice of music and spiritual intent of his mentor. It is a moving piece.
Both of these works are on Program A. Program B includes revival of "The Traitor," Programs begin at 7:30.
Jose Limon in 'Concerto Grosso'; date unknown

Jose Limon in "Concerto Grosso"; date unknown

Photo © & courtesy of Unknown


Roxanne O'Orleans Juste in Donald McKayle's 'Angelitos', part of the Limon repertoire

Roxanne O'Orleans Juste in Donald McKayle's "Angelitos", part of the Limon repertoire

Photo © & courtesy of B. Schiller

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