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Límon Dance Company

Department of Theatre and Dance

Límon Dance Company

Limon_photo

About the Company

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. The Company is the living legacy of dance theater developed by José Limón and his mentors, Do­ris Humphrey and Charles Weidman, whose innovative works revolutionized the American dance. After Limón’s death in 1972 the Company pioneered the idea that it was possible to survive the death of its founder, setting an example for the entire dance field. Now in its 67th 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.

Founded in 1946 by José Limón and Doris Humphrey, the Company is now led by Carla Maxwell, who worked closely with Limón before becoming Artistic Director in 1978. The Company has been committed to producing and presenting programs that balance classic works of American modern dance with commissions and acquisitions from contemporary choreographers, resulting in a repertory of unparalleled breadth. In its first half-century, the Company achieved many important milestones: it was the first group to tour under the auspices of the American Cultural Exchange Program (1954), the first dance troupe to perform at Lincoln Center (1963), and has had the honor of appearing twice at The White House (1967 and 1995). More recently the José Limón Dance Foundation was awarded a 2008 National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence.

Limon technique

About the Limón Technique

The Limón technique is based upon the movement style and philosophy of theater developed by modern dance pioneers, Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman. In the early 1930s, both Weidman and Humphrey developed a dance vocabulary that worked in opposition to the strict rules of classical ballet. Their intention was twofold: to demonstrate human emotions in a less stylized manner than ballet; and to incorporate in their work the natural movement patterns of the body and its relation to gravity. Limón further developed their ideas for his own work and technique.

The Limón technique is divided among various physical extremes: fall and recovery, rebound, weight, suspension, succession and isolation. These ideas can be illustrated in the way a dancer uses the floor as a place from which to rise, return to and then rise from again. The way a dancer explores the range of movement between the one extreme of freedom from gravity and the other of falling into it; for example, the moment of suspension just as the body is at the top of a leap, and the moment the body had fallen completely back to the earth. There are many words and ideas that are immediately associated with the Limón technique, i.e. its humanism, its use of breath, musicality, lyricism and its dramatic qualities; however, the overwhelming consensus is that through the movement is always demonstrated some physical expression of the human spirit.

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The José Limón Dance Foundation exists to perpetuate the Limón legacy and its humanistic approach to movement and theater, and to extend the vitality of that vision into the future, through performance, creation, preservation and education.

Acclaimed for its dramatic expression, technical mastery and expansive, yet nuanced movement, the Limón Dance Company illustrates the timelessness of José Limón’s work and vision.

Founded in 1946 by José Limón and Doris Humphrey, the Company is now led by Carla Maxwell, who worked closely with Limón before becoming Artistic Director in 1978. The Company’s repertory, which balances classic works with commissions from contemporary choreographers, is of an unparalleled breadth, creating unique experiences for audiences around the world.

2008-2009 Eminent Artist-in-Residence: Bill Bowers interview

Bill Bowers
Heyokah/Hokahey at the University of Wyoming

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