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miliosr

Limon Dance Company

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miliosr   

The Limon Dance Company will be celebrating its 70th consecutive season in 2015-16 by reviving a number of rarely seen works by Jose Limon:

  • Dialogues (1951) -- A narrative work consisting of two antagonistic episodes from Mexican history -- The [spanish] Captain vs. The [indian] Emperor and The [Austrian] Emperor vs. The [Mexican] President. [Note: Limon would return to the second episode again in 1972 with Carlota -- see below.] To my knowledge, the Limon Company has never revived this before. The revival will replace the original Norman Lloyd music with a newly commissioned score.
  • The Traitor (1954) -- Limon's take on the Jesus and Judas story set to Gunther Schuller's Symphony for Brasses. Last revived in 2007.
  • Orfeo (1972) -- Limon's take on the Orpheus and Eurydice myth set to Beethoven. Last revived for the 50th anniversary celebrations in the 90s.
  • Carlota (1972) -- Limon's dance about the mad Mexican Empress Carlota, her husband, the Austrian Archduke-turned-doomed Emperor, Maximilian, and the Mexican President, Benito Juarez. Performed with no music, this was also last revived for the 50th anniversary celebrations in the 90s.

The company will also be reviving and performing Doris Humphrey's 1938 Passacaglia (set to Bach) in Spring 2015 and will continue performing it into 2015-16.

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miliosr   

If you're in the neighborhood of the Bavarian State Ballet, the company will be performing Limon's rarely-seen The Exiles (1950) this month. (The bill will also include William Forsythe's Artifact II and Jiri Kylian's Zugvogel.)

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sandik   

Alas, I will be in the neighborhood of my own neighborhood most of this month. Which is far away from Munich!

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miliosr   

The Limon company's Instagram feed reports that they'll also be reviving Limon's The Winged (1966) for the 70th anniversary. I don't think it's been performed in a dozen years.

Tomorrow night also marks the Limon company's first performance (of four) of Doris Humphrey's Passacaglia as part of Paul Taylor's American Modern Dance Project.

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sandik   

Tomorrow night also marks the Limon company's first performance (of four) of Doris Humphrey's Passacaglia as part of Paul Taylor's American Modern Dance Project.

I'm very curious to see how this project develops. Back in the earlier days of modern dance, cooperative programming was not especially popular. For every New Dance Group or Ailey Company, there were many, many more groups with the sole choreographer's name over the door. That kind of singular artistic expression was supposed to be a main goal for a modern choreographer.

But just as other typical characteristics about the dance world have modified, this seems to be in the process of changing as well.

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miliosr   
But just as other typical characteristics about the dance world have modified, this seems to be in the process of changing as well.

Most successor companies have realized that it's hard to go on after the death of the company choreographer unless you're prepared to become a true repertory company. Ailey always was one, and Limon and Graham have become ones. But Hawkins, Louis/Nikolas and Sokolow haven't been able to continue or barely exist. Cunningham pulled the plug on his own enterprise and now only Robert Swinston's little company in France is waving the Cunningham flag. Dean no longer allows anyone to perform her works and the survival of Trisha Brown's company and repertory is by no means certain. Even Tharp, once one of the strongest draws in dance, is now reliant on ballet companies and anniversaries to keep her work out there.

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Amour   

But just as other typical characteristics about the dance world have modified, this seems to be in the process of changing as well.

Even Tharp, once one of the strongest draws in dance, is now reliant on ballet companies and anniversaries to keep her work out there.

Unfortunately, I don't think there are any companies that perform Tharp's non-ballet works like Eight Jelly Rolls or Baker's Dozen. Sad. And she doesn't seem to care (double sad).

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sandik   

Several of Tharp's modern-based works have been having a life in college dance programs -- Eight Jelly Rolls has been performed about once a year in university settings. It looks like Company C Ballet had it in its repertory about 10 years ago, and American Repertory Ballet in New Jersey performed it in 2011. Baker's Dozen was another work that was supposed to be maintained in the Hubbard Street Dance Company rep, but their last performance was 1996. But Miami City Ballet and Alabama Ballet got the work in 2011, and the student ensemble at Julliard danced it last year.

If you're interested in following up on her repertory, her website has a pretty good archive of performance information.

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miliosr   

Looking at the list of recent performances at the Tharp site doesn't leave me feeling very hopeful about her repertory's future. "In the Upper Room" and "Nine Sinatra Songs" appear to be firmly settled in the international repertory. But it's a steep drop-off after that. She has outposts at ABT, Miami City Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet. But what happens when the current artistic directors, who came of age during Tharp's prime, move on? I'm not sure the next generation is so keen on her work.

This is where having a company (like the Limon company) to dance your work is very, very important. In the absence of one (or the institutionalization of Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Project), Tharp will have to depend on fortune's fickle whims.

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abatt   

Tharp is doing just fine. She's got funding to tour the US in the Fall for her 50th Anniversary. She has done several successful Broadway shows which have also toured the US.

I actually have to wonder about the future of Paul Taylor. He must have very deep pocketed donors. He surely isn't getting much income from ticket sales, based on the very poor attendance I regularly see at his performances.

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miliosr   
Tharp is doing just fine. She's got funding to tour the US in the Fall for her 50th Anniversary.

I'm always wary of drawing any conclusions from big anniversary seasons. The Limon company is not performing much at all this season. I think that's by design so they can throw everything they have toward making a splash in the upcoming 70th anniversary season (2015-16). But a strategy of living from big anniversary season to big anniversary season strikes me as an unhealthy way to maintain repertory in a constant state of high readiness.

I actually have to wonder about the future of Paul Taylor. He must have very deep pocketed donors. He surely isn't getting much income from ticket sales, based on the very poor attendance I regularly see at his performances.

He sold his Rauschenberg artworks which raised millions of dollars for his company. But your concern is a real one. He has to build up an endowment now while he's alive because it will be a lot less attractive to give when he's dead.

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miliosr   

Based on information I gleaned from the Limon company's Web site, here are the revivals for 2015-16 (70th anniversary season):

(1951) Dialogues

(1954) The Traitor

(1966) The Winged

(1970) The Unsung

(1971) Dances for Isadora

(1972) Orfeo

(1972) Carlota

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miliosr   

If you're in the neighborhood, the Minnesota Dance Theatre will be performing The Moor's Pavane this weekend.

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miliosr   

Per the Limon Web site, Carla Maxwell, who has led the company as artistic director for 37 (!) seasons (1978-2015) will move on to become Legacy Director of the Foundation once the company hires a new artistic director for the 70th anniversary season.

The 70th anniversary seems like the perfect time to make a change. In death, Limon hit the jackpot with Carla Maxwell as she has maintained the repertory, the technique and the performing style in top shape when it all could have slipped away in that chaotic period after Limon's death. She also extended the company's horizons by bringing in existing works from the modern dance and even ballet (i.e. Antony Tudor's Dark Elegies) repertories into the company, and by commissioning new works.

But 37 years is a long time for one person to be at the helm (her tenure exceeds those of her three predecessors -- Doris Humphrey, Limon and Ruth Currier -- combined) and now is probably a good time to pass the leadership on to someone new. She won't get the credit she deserves from the New York dance press but she should take pride in knowing that she kept Limon's works alive when the works of so many of his contemporaries are no longer performed.

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sandik   

Maxwell has indeed given yeoman (yeowoman?) service. In many ways the Limon company 'went first' as a modern dance company who lost their founding director. They blazed trails and tried new ideas -- some worked and some did not, but many other dance companies (NYCB) owe them a debt for trying them.

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miliosr   
They blazed trails and tried new ideas -- some worked and some did not, but many other dance companies (NYCB) owe them a debt for trying them.

Yes, the Limon company under Ruth Currier and then Carla Maxwell was really the precedent setter for achieving "life after death". As you say, not everything worked and sometimes interesting explorations turned out to be dead ends (i.e. forging links to the German Expressionism of Pina Bausch and Susanne Linke in the 80s). Still, that there's a repertory and a technique and an approach to dance theater to experience today is in large part due to Maxwell.

In other news, the Limon company's Instagram feed reports that company member Kristen Foote has been working with the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre on sections of Limon's The Winged for joint performances with the Limon company in October.

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miliosr   

The Limon company kicks off its 70th anniversary season a little early with a performance tonight in New Orleans. The program will feature three of Limon's greatest works: The Moor's Pavane (1949), Mazurkas (1958) and Missa Brevis (also 1958).

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miliosr   

If you're in the Los Angeles area starting on May 16th, the Los Angeles Ballet will be performing The Moor's Pavane as part of a Director's Choice: Masterworks of the 20th Century program.

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miliosr   

The Joyce Theater has announced that the Limon company will stage a festival of his works from October 13th to October 25th. Guest companies will include the Bavarian State Ballet and the Royal Danish Ballet. (The Bavarian State Ballet will be performing The Exiles [1950] and I imagine the Royal Danes will perform The Unsung [1970].) Pre-professional dancers from the Juilliard School, the North Carolina School of the Arts and the University of Taipei will also appear.

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miliosr   

More info from the Limon company about the 70th anniversary celebration at the Joyce (via an e-mail notification):

. . . the Festival will assemble dance companies and colleges from 7 countries to join us in sharing 16 of Limon's masterworks with a wider audience.

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