miliosr

Jose Limon/Limon Dance Company

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Time to start a new thread for all things Limon-related . . .

Limon Dance Company has a new Executive Director:

http://www.limon.org/documents/GabyAppointmentRelease.pdf

For those of you in the Rochester, NY area, Limon begins its three week residency at SUNY Brockport on July 19. Public performances will include excerpts from a reconstruction of There Is a Time and Dances for Isadora, as well as a showing of a work-in-progress by company member Jonathan Fredrickson.

Limon will be contributing to an Anna Sokolow "residency" happening at the New School in New York (presumably showing parts or all of their reconstruction of Rooms):

http://www.newschool.edu/lang/academics.aspx?id=24404

Luna Negra Dance Theater will be performing There Is a Time at the Chicago Dancing Festival in August:

http://lunanegra.org/performances/

Kansas City Ballet will be performing The Moor's Pavane in February:

http://www.kcballet.org/performancesticket...son/winter.html

Royal Danish Ballet will be performing The Unsung in May-June (Note: RDB site link contains partial nudity):

http://www.kglteater.dk/Forestillinger/Bal...seur_Noble.aspx

I'll update this thread periodically when I spot any interesting news!

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Miliosr, what are you thoughts about residencies? It's always seemed to me that to increase the number of residencies (with performances at each site) -- creating, in effect, a "tour" of universities -- might be an excellent way to keep the dancers working, increase exposure, and pass on the technique. Would this make any sense for Limon Dance Company?

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Miliosr, what are you thoughts about residencies? It's always seemed to me that to increase the number of residencies (with performances at each site) -- creating, in effect, a "tour" of universities -- might be an excellent way to keep the dancers working, increase exposure, and pass on the technique. Would this make any sense for Limon Dance Company?

I think residencies can be wonderful things for precisely the reasons you listed, bart. Also, for a company like Limon, which isn't tied to a particular theater and doesn't own property, a residency like the one at Brockport is an advantageous way to work on exisiting or new repertory without having to keep a constant eye on the clock because you're renting rehearsal space. When you're someone else's guest for three weeks, you can slow down and really pay attention to detail in a way that's not always possible in New York.

Still, I don't know that a strategy of constant residencies is a strategy I would support unless the residencies result in public performances. For instance, the Limon company performance of Missa Brevis at the University of Minnesota in March was the end result of a two week residency. Missa Brevis requires 22 dancers, a large choir and an organist. This would be totally beyond the company's means in New York but, by partnering with the University of Minnesota, they could field the required number of dancers and use live music so that Missa Brevis is maintained in active repertory.

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Still, I don't know that a strategy of constant residencies is a strategy I would support unless the residencies result in public performances.
Definitely. Ms. Poler-Buzal, the new Executive Director, might want to explore something like this. Many universities with dance programs also have active performance halls. SUNY Purchase, for instance. It might be a good idea for someone to begin checking out the possibilities, write a proposal based on their previous experience, and start making contacts.

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Well, I think they need to resolve some other issues before they develop a touring strategy:

1) Get things settled at the top. This will be the fourth ED since 2003, when longtime ED Mark Jones resigned.

2) Figure out what they want to be and stick with it. Are they mainly a heritage company whose charge is to preserve the works of Jose Limon and Doris Humphrey? Are they a repertory company devoted to preserving the best works of the mid-20th century modern dance (Limon and Humphrey, plus works by Donald McKayle, Daniel Nagrin and Anna Sokolow??) Are they a repertory company committed to surveying the spectrum of modern/postmodern/contemporary dance???

Honestly, I don't always know what their core mission is. (And that's coming from someone who's a big fan of the company.) The performance I saw in March leads me toward conclusion A (two Limon works plus a tribute to Limon by a former company member.) But then, at the same time, they were touring a program with the tribute piece plus Anna Sokolow's Rooms, which leads me to conclusion B. (And I saw a performance in 2005, with pieces by Limon, Jiri Kylian, Lar Lubovitch and Jonathan Reidel, which leads me to conclusion C.) Rooms is an interesting choice for them to do but you can't blame people if they go to a Limon Dance Company performance and they carp because there's not a single piece by Limon on the bill.

3) Get into the 21st century w/ your communications strategy. The Web site was slick in 2003 when it launched but now it's static and unwieldy. You have a ton of content -- get it on a YouTube page. Regular e-mail blasts as to what the company is doing are a must. I feel like they're coasting too much on Limon's past fame and not targeting new audiences with a contemporary communications strategy.

Alright, enough of me playing armchair artistic/executive director!

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Gosh, the new Executive Director must be reading this thread! :unsure:

The latest edition of the Limon e-newsletter arrived this week (first in a long time) and the Limon company is now on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, they now have an official YouTube channel:

http://www.youtube.com/user/LimonDanceCompany

Not a lot of earth-shattering news in the newsletter but here are the highlights:

1) Artistic director Carla Maxwell talks about the upcoming residency at Brockport and how it gives the company, "a chance to work outside of the usual struggles 'at home'." (Which I took to mean as cost.)

2) Institute director Ann Vachon discusses a recent two-week residency at the Warsaw School of Ballet for 40 dancers aged 14-19.

3) Associate artistic director/dancer Roxane D'Orleans Juste discusses her upcoming reconstruction of Limon's There Is a Time (last performed by the company in 2001) and how this is the fourth revival of this work she has participated in since joining the company in 1983.

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Thank you miliosr. I watched both YouTube pieces (the biography and Carla Maxwell's statement about his legacy) and was really impressed. They're well done and rather inspiring. Both Maxwell and the narrator of the biography make a good case for presenting this work -- and for wanting to see it. I would definitely like to see a lot more. Frankly, I can't imagine why anyone would not.

Maxwell expresses with great simplicity the problem the company faced after his death:

We do't have that magnetic personality anymore. What is left is a body of work ... a technique.

Question: what is going on in that session with the dancers clapping the beat? Is this a rehearsal technique? Or is it the piece itself?

In common with a number of choreographers of his time -- and very few today -- Limon seems to have had a strong sense of the importance of history, and of the powerful continuities between past and present. I'd especially like to see Dialogues, the confrontatons of Cortez andMontezuma and of Maximilano and Juarez. And the Carlota piece. The still photo from The Exile (story of Adam and Eve) made me want to see that, too.

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Answer: I think the clapping is actually part of There Is a Time, specifically as part of the "A time to keep silent, and a time to speak" segment. This part of the dance has no music but a strong rhythmic noise (clapping?) occurs offstage during this segment.

Along with the complete A Choreographic Offering (from 1964), the Limon work I most want to see is his very last work, Carlota (from 1972). From the video clips I've seen, it looks very Expressive. In addition, it incorporates various trends that were all the rage in the postmodern dance around that time -- no music and extended periods of spinning (which Laura Dean would go to town with in the 1970s and 1980s.) I'm curious to see how the Limon aesthetic interacts with the downtown New York dance aesthetic.

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I wish the short clip in the video had been longer. The spinning dancer in the crimson bell-shaped shirt must have been powerful to watch. What a metaphor for Carlota's own brand of madness.

Seeing the present-day company in color -- as when they cut from the original black-and-white Moor's Pavane to the present-day color version --helped me to appreciate the impression that dance performances must have made in those earlier days. The black-and-white images we depend on today -- often poorly lit and fuzzy as to detail -- give a very false impression of what audiences actually saw.

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Hat tip to Dale for alerting me to this:

http://www.nycitycenter.org/tickets/produc...anceNumber=4337

It would be great if the seven guys performed Limon's The Unsung together. But I suspect that one of the ABT-related guys will follow in the footsteps of Baryshnikov and Bocca and perform Limon's great solo for the male dancer, Chaconne.

Update: Looks like a Limon work won't be performed.

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The new Executive Director at Limon is getting things in gear. The latest edition of the e-newsletter has arrived hard on the heels of the July edition:

http://www.limon.org/News/Current.html

The August edition has a nice interview w/ Limon dancer Daniel Fetecua Soto. When asked what his favorite Limon dance is, he replied:

"[The] Unsung, . . . it touches me the most because it relates to native Americans. I especially love the fact that the entire piece is in silence, and the power of the work is accentuated by the male dancers listening to their own rhythms and to mother earth."

I'm curious to hear what the Royal Danes make of this work when they perform it next Spring.

The newsletter also has a lot of information regarding the company's trip to China in November-December. Interesting programming:

Program A -- All Limon

01 There Is a Time (1956) (2009 - revival)

02 The Traitor (1954)

03 The Moor's Pavane (1949)

Program B -- Contemporary Tribute

01 Into My Heart's House (2008) (Clay Taliaferro)

02 Etude (2002) (Carla Maxwell, after Limon)

03 Transfiguration (1976) (Susanne Linke)

04 The Edge of Some World (2009 - new work) (Jonathan Frederickson)

05 Missa Brevis (1958) (Jose Limon)

I'm not sure what Program B is a tribute to -- Jose Limon? The continued viability of Limon technique?? Contemporary dance itself???

In any event, keep the newsletters coming!

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This must be the year for There Is a Time. The Limon company is reviving it this year, Luna Negra Dance Theater continues to perform their revival of it and now this:

http://www.bostonconservatory.edu/s/940/Tw...&calcid=881

(Performances will also be on the 6th, 7th and 8th.)

The University of Iowa will perform Psalm:

http://dance.uiowa.edu/performance_opportu...ance_gala.shtml

And if you're going to be in France:

http://www.theatre-du-capitole.fr/1/saison...-amours?lang=fr

And if you're going to be in the Netherlands:

http://www.introdans.nl/en/index1.asp?p=12

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More on the Limon company's revival of There Is a Time:

http://www.limon.org/News/documents/Sept2Eblast.pdf

Performances of Carla Maxwell's Etude (which itself is based on various Limon dances):

http://www.spfldcol.edu/homepage/dept.nsf/...5256F5E00548B77

(Scroll down the page.)

After seeing Rudolf Nureyev and his assorted friends in a mid-70s performance of The Moor's Pavane, Arlene Croce opined (rather acidly) that The Moor's Pavane, "might reasonably turn up any day now as a Bolshoi 'Highlight'." Right idea, wrong company:

http://www.mikhailovsky.ru/en/repertoir/?action=78

(Scroll down the page.)

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Haven't posted in a while so . . .

The main company performed in Beijing for the first time ever in early December. They will be touring Switzerland and Mexico in the Spring.

Here is a sneak peak of the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons:

http://www.limon.org/Dance/documents/Prese...or2010-2012.pdf

Thoughts:

I don't know how I feel about all of the anniversary/centennial celebrations. I know that, with the charismatic founders gone, these celebrations are a good way to garner publicity. On the down side, though, these recurring evocations of the past engender an impression of a constant seance to what was.

Interesting that the main company will revive The Emperor Jones after 25 years. I wonder if this was long-planned or if the decision to revive it now had anything to do with the Irish Repertory Theater's very well-received revival of the play:

http://theater.nytimes.com/2009/10/19/thea...ones&st=cse

And I know nothing about Jiri Kylian's La Cathedrale Engloutie . . .

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For those of you in the New York area who have an interest in the mid-20th century modern dance, the Limon company will close out its recent series of performances in and around New York with three performances at the 92nd Street Y. (The Friday and Sunday performances are already sold out but it looks like there are still tickets for the Saturday performance.) This will be the last chance to see them in the US for the next few months as they head off for tours in Italy, Switzerland and Mexico.

The repertory will be:

01 La Malinche (1949) - Jose Limon (2010 revival)

02 Dance In the Sun (1950) - Daniel Nagrin

03 Spanish Dance (1948) - Daniel Nagrin

04 Rooms (excerpts) (1955) - Anna Sokolow (2008 revival)

05 Heartbeats (excerpts) (1997) - Donald McKayle

06 There Is a Time (1956) - Jose Limon (2009 revival)

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The New York Times weighs in on the 92nd Street Y performances:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/09/arts/dan....html?ref=dance

I don't agree with Macaulay's assessment of Limon's repertory (surprise!) BUT I admire how he just came out and said that Limon's brand of dance theater wasn't to his taste. I wish more reviewers would take that approach rather than adopting a stance of phony objectivity. This way, the reader knows up front that the reviewer has an issue with a particular choreographer's approach (and can factor that in when reading the review.)

Tobi Tobias weighs in on the same performances:

http://www.artsjournal.com/tobias/2010/03/the_afterlife.html

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Macaulay's comments about the lack of ambiguity in Limon's work reminded me of Ayn Rand's famous comment that Mickey Spillane was her favorite novelist precisely because his work was so black and white. :off topic:

In other news, the Limon company will be performing at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Thursday, June 10. The repertory will consist of Limon's The Moor's Pavane and There Is a Time and Clay Taliaferro's Into My Heart's House.

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I saw Daniel Nagrin (whose works were included on the 92nd Street Y program) perform once in Los Angeles or Long Beach around 1980 -- and found his work quite charming and very intelligent and free. In one dance he stepped on and off of a log while he gave a monologue of sorts, and another focused on ballroom dancing and he talked how important it was for his generation, while he did different solo variations.

From the videotape of Moor's Pavane and Traitor (and one live viewing of the company in the 1980s), I would agree with Mr Macaulay that Jose Limon's work was overly schematic, the Traitor -- about the MacCarthy Hearings -- painfully so. On the other hand snippets of Limon's memoir and his observations on sleepy San Francisco and his travels to New York seem very nicely drawn.

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I saw Daniel Nagrin (whose works were included on the 92nd Street Y program) perform once in Los Angeles or Long Beach around 1980 -- and found his work quite charming and very intelligent and free. In one dance he stepped on and off of a log while he gave a monologue of sorts, and another focused on ballroom dancing and he talked how important it was for his generation, while he did different solo variations.

I'm glad the Limon company has several of his solos in repertory because, otherwise, I think his repertory would be a dead one.

From the videotape of Moor's Pavane and Traitor (and one live viewing of the company in the 1980s), I would agree with Mr Macaulay that Jose Limon's work was overly schematic, the Traitor -- about the MacCarthy Hearings -- painfully so. On the other hand snippets of Limon's memoir and his observations on sleepy San Francisco and his travels to New York seem very nicely drawn.

Of the Limon pieces I've seen (and there's a lot I haven't seen), I can say that The Traitor is my least favorite. The design is interesting (like an El Greco painting sprung to life) but, as a drama, once you've seen it -- you've seen it. It doesn't sustain interest over repeated viewings or with cast changes.

.

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And I know nothing about Jiri Kylian's La Cathedrale Engloutie . . .

This is a gorgeous piece, it's on a tape/DVD which is called, I think, '4 by Kylian'. Has Jeanne Solan in it, she was always beautiful. It's my favourite Kylian piece I know (not very many, I admit, but I've liked most of what I've seen.)

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And I know nothing about Jiri Kylian's La Cathedrale Engloutie . . .

This is a gorgeous piece, it's on a tape/DVD which is called, I think, '4 by Kylian'. Has Jeanne Solan in it, she was always beautiful. It's my favourite Kylian piece I know (not very many, I admit, but I've liked most of what I've seen.)

Thanks for the tip, patrick. I'm not really enthused by the next big Limon revival -- The Emperor Jones -- the company has in store so this has peaked my interest more.

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