Limon Dance Company - 2009
Posted 24 March 2009 - 09:29 AM
I can't speak to the issues which provoked This (although the article intimates that the dissension stemmed from the student performance of Missa Brevis in February rather than the Limon company performance of the same work in March.) Regardless, this article would surely have given Jose Limon cause for sorrow . . .
Posted 24 March 2009 - 02:34 PM
Another Outsider role ! There are all sorts of Outsiders: some are sentenced to that role by the majority; others are congenitally drawn to it by their own personalities. I have the feeling that Limon was a bit of both. Is this correct?
He found that Mass to be an "empty ritual" and decided to create a Mass of his own. He now had the raw elements for Missa Brevis at his disposal -- the community of believers on the one hand and the Outsider (himself) on the other.
[ ... ]
The narrative of Missa Brevis is quite simple. A community gathers to celebrate its faith while an Outsider (originally Limon but now danced by Francisco Ruvalcaba) attempts to join in but can never quite become part of the believing community.
Perhaps this is what drew many of us to his work in in a very difficult period for many artists. A lot of glorious work came as a response to, and often resistance to, the dominant cultural and political ethos of those days.
Posted 24 March 2009 - 03:56 PM
From what I know about him, I would say that there were several things at work (in terms of his personality and experiences):
1) He was born in Mexico in 1908 and his parents raised him as a Catholic. Even though he fell away from the organized Catholic Church in adulthood, I would say that he remained profoundly Catholic until his dying day. I think he carried with him his whole life long the Catholic sense that Eden cannot be recaptured and that mankind had fallen from a state of grace. As such, he gravitated to Biblical/historical/literary subjects who, in some sense, had also fallen from a state of grace -- Othello, Adam, Judas, etc.
2) No doubt contributing to this innate suspicion of the perfectibility of man and utopian schemes to reclaim Eden were the very real events of his adolescence and early adulthood:
a) A younger sister died at a very young age;
b) Gunmen shot and killed his uncle (before his eyes) as unrest swept Mexico;
c) A younger brother died as the Limon family fled Mexico; and
d) His mother died at the age of 34, worn out by repeated childbirths. (Limon blamed his father for this and said to him, "Why do you cry? You killed her. And God permitted you.")
3) Arriving in the United States from Mexico, he felt like an outsider in the English-speaking world. While he would go on to become a major American cultural figure in the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s, I think he always carried with him a sense of being "other" -- too American to be truly Mexican and too Mexican to be truly American.
Take this armchair psychoanalysis for what it's worth . . .
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