Limón, José

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Limón, José

José Limón (José Arcadio Limón) (hōsā´ lĬmōn´, lē–), 1908–72, American modern dancer, choreographer, and teacher known for powerfully masculine dancing and dramatic choreography. He was born in Culiacán, Mexico, and his family settled in the United States in 1915. He moved (1928) to New York City to study art, but was smitten by dance and began studying with Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman. Limón's talent was immediately evident and he was soon performing (1930–40) his mentors' works. After serving in World War II, he founded (1946) his own company with Humphrey as artistic director. The influential Limón began choreographing in 1931, continuing until the year of his death. One of his most celebrated works is The Moor's Pavane (1949), a haunting dance based on Shakespeare's Othello. His many other dances include La Malinche (1949), There Is a Time (1956), and The Unsung (1970). In 1950 his company became the first major U.S. modern dance group to perform in Europe; four years later it traveled to South America, and subsequently it toured worldwide. Today the José Limón Dance Foundation maintains an active dance company as well as facilities for teaching, licensing, and other activities.

See his An Unfinished Memoir (1999); D. Lewis, The Illustrated Dance Technique of José Limón (1984); B. Pollack, Dance Is a Moment: A Portrait of José Limón (1993).

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