Jose Limon by Jose Limon
An Unfinished Memoir (Studies in Dance History)

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Synopsis

A captivating illustrated autobiography of the early years of a major American choreographer.
 

About Jose Limon

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Jose Limon, whom many consider to be the greatest performer in the history of modern dance, was born in Culiacan, Mexico. As a dancer and choreographer, he greatly expanded the repertoire of modern dance with works exploring the human character and its strengths and weaknesses. He had an extraordinary ability to communicate with the audience, and his stage presence imbued any movement, from the tiniest gesture to the grandest action, with riveting power. Limon came to the United States as a young man to study art. In 1930, however, he began studying dance with Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman and became one of the leading dancers of their company. In 1945, he formed his own dance company, with Humphrey as artistic director. His first major work, The Moor's Pavane (1949), expressed magnificently the jealousy, rage, and remorse of Shakespeare's Othello within the context of dance. Much of Limon's choreography derived from natural gesture and was intended to express human dignity, grandeur, and nobility. He drew his themes from history, literature, and religion. His works were also characterized by a well-defined structure and form. In addition to The Moor's Pavane, his most celebrated works include La Malinche (1949), Exiles (1950), Emperor Jones (1956), The Apostate (1959), A Choreographic Offering (1962), and The Winged (1966). The 1950's and 1960's were Limon's most prolific period as a choreographer, and he continued dancing until 1969. His dance company, The Jose Limon Dance Company, survived the death of its founder in 1972 and continues to perform within the United States and around the world. LYNN GARAFOLA is author of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes (1989), editor of several books, including Rethinking the Sylph: New Perspectives on the Romantic Ballet (SDHS/Wesleyan, 1998), and co-editor with Eric Foner of Dance for a City: Fifty Years of the New York City Ballet (1999).
 
Published January 1, 1999 by Wesleyan University Press. 207 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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Limon died in 1972 at age 64, leaving behind a legacy of work that survives through the dance company that bears his name.

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Readers may feel that the boy's move from drawing and painting to dancing seems abrupt, especially when he debuts onstage just six weeks after his first dance class, but the tale of how quickly he mastered English as a youngster hints at Jose's early passion for mastering nearly everything.

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