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José Limón Dance Foundation announces appointment of Colin Connor as New Artistic Director

by Audrey Ross
February 15, 2016
The José Limón Dance Foundation announces the appointment of Colin Connor as new Artistic Director. A renowned contemporary choreographer and dance educator, Connor will succeed the legendary Carla Maxwell on July 1, 2016 to become only the fifth Artistic Director in the Company’s 70 year history and the first man to lead the Company since Limón himself.

For the last thirteen years, while maintaining his own choreographic career, Connor has been a full-time faculty member at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA, where he was Director of Student Professional Development and served various roles in the Institute’s governance. Connor had danced as a soloist for the Limón Company for eight years, in addition to guest performances with other companies and tours of his own work. Connor has also served on the faculties of The Juilliard School, New York University, and City College of New York.

Since his time as a Limón dancer, Connor has maintained a fruitful relationship with the Limón Dance Company and Foundation. He was a choreographer in residence at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography for a creative choreographic process with the Limón Dance Company and set Limon’s The Unsung on several occasions, including for Maggio Danza in Florence, Italy, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, and, most recently, the University of Arizona, whose performance was included in the recent Limón Festival at the Joyce Theater.

Connor facilitated the use of students from the California Institute of the Arts dancing with the Limón Dance Company in performances of Missa Brevis at the Music Center in Los Angeles. Several of his students at Cal Arts became members of the Limón Dance Company, including Katie Diamond, Jonathan Fredrickson, Ryan Mason and Robin Wilson. He has also been a frequent master teacher at the Limón West Coast Summer Workshops and instrumental in its ongoing success and profitability for several years.

The Limón Foundation’s search for a new Artistic Director began in April 2015 and was guided by a committee of Directors and a team of independent artistic advisors. After rigorously vetting numerous applicants, the committee and the Limón Board decided on Mr. Connor. Former Chairman, and director of the search committee Robert A. Meister states “Colin’s talent, artistic vision and energy should invigorate Limón’s transition into the 21st Century.” Limón’s current Chairman Tomas J. Rossant comments "What a wonder that Colin has accepted to lead our artistic future. What a joy to initiate yet another transition for the most robust legacy modern dance company in this nation"

Carla Maxwell has been at the artistic helm since 1978. Her tireless dedication to the Limón legacy led the Company into its 70th Anniversary, directing and implementing the José Limón International Dance Festival in October 2015. Maxwell will now transition to a new role as Limón’s Legacy Director. Maxwell remarks that she is confident that “Colin will “ensure the life of Limón’s legacy for years to come and assert its relevance to future generations”.

Hailed as one of the world’s greatest dance companies, the Limón Dance Company has been at the vanguard of American Modern dance since its inception in 1946. Having pioneered the idea that it was possible to survive the death of its founder, the Limón Company set an example for the entire dance field. Now, over the last four decades since Limón’s passing, the Company has created a unique repertory that gives audiences an overview of some of the best and most important choreography, new and old, in the dance world. The Company is the living legacy of the philosophy of theater developed by José Limón and his mentors, Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman, whose innovative works revolutionized the American Modern Dance. Now in its 70th year, the Company is renowned for its technical mastery and dramatic expression, and demonstrates both the timelessness of José Limón’s works and the humanistic vision that guides the repertory choices. The Company is one of the two components of the José Limón Dance Foundation, which also conducts educational programs and disseminates the Limón repertory through the Limón Institute. Most recently, the Foundation was awarded the National Medal of the Arts in 2008, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence.
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