Jose Limon/Limon Dance Company2010-11
Posted 25 September 2010 - 05:10 PM
09/29/10 -- Lecture/Demonstration w/ Lynn Garafola @ Baruch College Performing Arts Center, New York
09/30/10 -- Open rehearsal @ Baruch College Performing Arts Center, New York
Residency in Mexico
10/12/10 -- Showing of Jose Limon - A Life Beyond Words/Q&A w/ Limon Dance Company members, Mexico City
10/13/10 -- Showing of excerpts from The Unsung by Limon Dance Company workshop students, Culiacan, Mexico
10/15/10 -- Showing of excerpts from The Unsung by Limon Dance Company workshop students, Mexico City
10/13/10 -- Open rehearsal @ Joyce Soho, New York
10/23-10/24/10 -- Performances @ Choreographers of the 20th Century gala, Rome, Italy
11/02/10 -- Lecture about The Unsung @ the Americas Society, New York
11/11/10 -- Performance @ Casita Maria, New York
12/01/10 -- Lecture/demonstration @ the Americas Society, New York
12/08/10 -- Open rehearsal @ Joyce Soho, New York
12/14-12/15/10 -- Performances @ Baryshnikov Arts Center, New York
01/07-01/28/11 -- Residency @ Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY
01/25/11 -- Lecture/demonstration of Clay Taliaferro's restaging of Limon's The Emperor Jones
01/28/11 -- Performance
02/10/11 -- Performance @ Flynn Theatre, Burlington, VT
03/22/11 -- Performance @ New York International Ballet Competition, Skirball Center, New York
03/23/11 -- Lecture/demonstration @ the Americas Society, New York
04/19/11 -- Lecture/demonstration @ the Americas Society, New York
Five Week Tour of Mexico
04/29/11 -- Performance @ Jose Limon Dance Festival - 25th Anniversary, Culiacan
05/01/11 -- Performance @ Jose Limon Dance Festival - 25th Anniversary, Mazatlan
05/14/11 -- Performance @ Teatro Hidalgo, Colima
05/18/11 -- Performance @ Festival de Mayo, Guadalajara
05/20/11 -- Performance @ Lagos de Morelos
05/24/11 -- Performance @ Teatro Julio Castillo, Mexico City
05/26/11 -- Performance @ Teatro Bicentario, Guanajuato
05/29/11 -- Performance @ San Luis Potosi
06/07-06/12/11 -- Performances @ John Jay College, New York
06/30/11 -- Lecture/demonstration @ Kaatsbaan, Tivoli, NY
07/10-07/29 -- Summer residency, SUNY-Brockport, NY
08/04/11 -- Lecture/demonstration @ Kaatsbaan, Tivoli, NY
Posted 27 September 2010 - 05:31 PM
Why am I putting this is in the Limon thread? Because Limon artistic director Carla Maxwell hired McDonald in 1997 when he was fresh out of Juilliard. He danced with Limon for three seasons before he decamped to Morris and I've read he was an outstanding Iago in The Moor's Pavane. Good luck to him in his future endeavors!
Posted 20 October 2010 - 05:39 PM
Posted 30 October 2010 - 03:34 PM
Using dance and dramatic mime, the five evocations -- "Primavera," "Maenad," "Niobe," "La Patrie," and "Scarf Dance" -- alternately depict Duncan performances (as imagined by Limon) or events from her life. The first two segments evoke what Duncan might have looked like as a performer while the third and fifth capture specific episodes from her life -- her reaction to the death of her children in a freak accident in 1913, and her own twilight and freakish death in 1927. The fourth segment exists in-between pure dance and biographical sketch by referencing her (rather naive) support for revolutionary causes of the period. (In this respect, Dances for Isadora occupies a middle ground between Frederick Ashton's Five Brahms Waltzes for Isadora Duncan  and Kenneth MacMillan's Isadora . The former encapsulates Ashton's memories of seeing Duncan perform live while the latter tries to tell Duncan's life story through a mixture of dramatic mime and dancing.)
While the Limon company has maintained Dances for Isadora in repertory since Limon's death, they have performed it less than regularly, which leads me to believe that they do not consider it one of Limon's finest works. My only exposure to this work had been via an online video excerpt from 2004-06 featuring the first four evocations:
After having watched this video, my own take on Dances for Isadora was that it was (at best) mid-drawer Limon made more memorable than it actually was by the heightened dramatic expression the Limon dancers -- Kristen Foote, Ryoko Kudo, Kathryn Alter and Roxane D'Orleans Juste -- brought to the piece. But, as I believe that viewing dance works in a theater is greatly preferable to watching the same work on video, I welcomed the chance to see this work up close and personal recently in Michigan. As part of its 20th anniversary performances in Detroit, the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble (EDE) invited DDCDances (formerly Detroit Dance Collective), which has Dances for Isadora in its repertory, to perform this work as EDE's guests.
I was so looking forward to seeing this work in the flesh but, alas, the experience proved to be a series of disappointments. The first disappointment was that DDCDances only performed the first four evocations (billed as A Suite from Dances for Isadora.) This proved to be a crippling decision as the work only makes sense with all five evocations intact. Shorn of the dramatic finale of the "Scarf Dance," A Suite from Dances for Isadora had a beginning and a middle -- but no end. It just stopped -- to a justifiably baffled reaction from the audience.
Worse was to come. As a performing unit, DDCDances displayed a shocking lack of gravity (pun intended) regarding both the physical and dramatic needs of the dance. It was bad Limon technique and bad Duncan dramatization rolled into one. The dancers in "Primavera," "Maenad," and "La Patrie" only skimmed the emotional surface of these Duncan evocations and their understanding and implementation of Limon's emphasis on weightedness was next to nil -- they danced in a pretty but paper-thin manner that is the antithesis of Limon (and Duncan, for that matter.)
"Niobe" was the real disaster, though. This is my favorite segment from the Limon video and was the worst one on the night in Detroit. The older dancer performing this segment couldn't clasp her hands beyond her back or manage the footwork during the frenzied spins and the result was flat and affectless when it should have been gut-wrenching. One would never have known that Isadora was supposed to be spinning in a frenzy because of the death of her children.
A Suite from Dances for Isadora was pretty much a disaster and only got perfunctory applause -- more than it deserved. What went wrong? I have three theories: The work is modest to begin with, the staging was wrong or destructive, or the performing troupe just wasn't up to the dramtic and technical demands of the piece. Of the three theories, I am most willing to discount the second, as the stager -- longtime Limon company member Nina Watt -- staged a suite from Limon's A Choreographic Offering for a university company that I saw which was wonderful. My suspicion is that the true culprit was the combination of an average work and a troupe that made the work seem even less significant than it actually is.
I would welcome the chance to see the Limon company itself perform this work so I could get a definitive read on it. But until that day, alas, Dances for Isadora has now replaced The Traitor as my least favorite Jose Limon work.
Posted 01 November 2010 - 04:30 PM
The Nacre Dance Company will be performing Charles Weidman's 1961 Christmas Oratio on November 20th and 21st at Kaatsbaan in Tivoli, NY.
Posted 12 January 2011 - 09:09 PM
Actually, that's not quite right -- I've seen hte Limon company do a monumental performance of Tudor's "Dark Elegies," than which no ballet company nowadays could do a better version. But what I should say is that MacDOnald could bring that weight and grandeur of old modern dance to the MM company that was incredibly valuable as a bass note, against the much lighter ways of dancing that belong to so many others of the company. It's fascinating to see how many valid ways of dancing there are within the Morris company -- it's rather like an orchestra, the mix is so full of variety of tone.
Posted 22 January 2011 - 06:19 PM
Posted 31 January 2011 - 04:14 PM
To celebrate our shared legacy, the Jose Limon Dance Foundation is inviting professional dance companies throughout Mexico to mount Limon works during the 2011-12 season.
For the occasion we are offering the work with a greatly reduced licensing fee, in hopes that Limon's choreography will be seen all over the country, performed by Mexican dancers these sixty years after Limon created original work for them.
Among the available works are ensemble pieces with featured solo roles, such as The Winged, There Is a Time, and Psalm, as well as chamber works, including The Moor's Pavane, The Exiles and Orfeo. Limon choreographed several dances for all male casts, including The Traitor, the Unsung, and The Emperor Jones. Among his dances on Mexican themes are La Malinche, Chaconne, and Carlota.
I think it's lovely that the foundation is commemorating the time Limon spent in Mexico in 1951 creating works for Mexican dancers. It's a pity, though, that none of the works he actually created that year -- Los Cuatro Soles, Tonantzintla, Dialogues, Antigona and Redes -- appear to have survived. (Limon did recast portions of Dialogues in 1972's Carlota, though.)
Posted 02 February 2011 - 11:21 AM
Not long after this preview [of La Cathedrale Engloutie], the company performed the work. It's an atmospheric piece best suited to a formal proscenium space where the moody lighting and constant sound of rolling waves can engulf us in their illusion. Despite this show's studio theatre setting (no wings, exposed lighting instruments) this performance still mesmerised. [Logan] Kruger and [Kristen] Foote were joined by partners Durell Comedy and Dante Puleio, making a polished quartet that clearly reflected the benefit of [stager Jeanne] Solan's expertise - frequent changes of level were smooth, as were all the on-the-floor locomotions, the knee spins and kneeling lunges.
It's reassuring to see the Limon Company shine in dances by other choreographers - this approach will ensure a long life to the troupe and therefore secure the continued custodianship of Limon's own works.
Posted 07 February 2011 - 05:08 PM
Articles about the recently-completed Skidmore College residency:
Upcoming event w/ sjDANCEco (the Limon Company's West Coast spinoff):
Posted 03 April 2011 - 04:38 PM
Oh brother -- I spelled it incorrectly, too!
Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre performed There Is a Time this past week:
(Headline writer needs to learn how to spell 'Julliard'.)
As do(es) the text writer(s). It's Juilliard.
Posted 30 April 2011 - 05:20 PM
Bruhn had appeared with the Limon company (as The Moor in Limon's The Moor's Pavane) in early 1978. For the company's performances in New York at the end of that year, acting artistic director Carla Maxwell invited Bruhn to join the company to perform the following (according to Dance Magazine):
The Moor in The Moor's Pavane
The Leader in Limon's The Traitor
A 13-minute solo titled Suite for Erik. (Created for Bruhn by Murray Louis when the former had to drop out of a work called Figura which Louis was creating for the company.)
It all came to naught because Bruhn had to drop out of the entire season due to a neck injury. Whatever became of Suite for Erik? Did Louis recycle it and give it a new name??
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