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Repertory Archive

José Limón


José Limón was one of twentieth century America’s most prominent Modern Dance choreographers. His powerful choreography focuses on the human drama, often incorporating themes from literature, religion and Hispanic history as well as pure dance. Throughout his career, Limón worked to change the image of the male in dance and bring it to a new stature and recognition. Born in 1908 in Culiacan, Mexico, Limón moved to the United States with his family when he was seven years old. He became interested in dance at the age of twenty, after moving to New York City to study painting; he began to study with pioneer modern dancers Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman, and soon joined their company. In 1946 he founded his own company.

Limón is best known work is The Moor’s Pavane, based on Shakespeare’s Othello. He has choreographed over seventy-four other works, including The Traitor, The Exiles, The Unsung, Chaconne, Emperor Jones, Carlota, Dances for Isadora and There is a Time.

José Limón died on December 2, 1972. Today, the José Limón Dance Foundation continues his work through two entities: the Limón Dance Company, an international touring repertory company, and the Limón Institute, an educational and archival resource organization.