Mission & History

 “The dance is a lingua franca common to all men . . . Human movement and gesture can cross
oceans and mountains, rivers and deserts, bridge national frontiers and parochialisms.”
José Limón

There is a Time choreographed by Jose Limon, photo by Gabriel Morales

The José Limón Dance Foundation exists to perpetuate the Limón legacy and its humanistic approach to movement and theater, and to extend the vitality of that vision into the future, through performance, creation, preservation and education.

The José Limón Dance Foundation supports two entities: the Limón Dance Company, this country’s first modern dance repertory company, and the Limón Institute, an educational and archival resource center. In our home-base of New York City, the Limón Institute reaches close to 5,000 students and scholars annually through its education programs (including Limón4Kids), archival library, and New York City classes and workshops.

Founded in 1946 by José Limón and Doris Humphrey, the Limón Dance Company has been at the vanguard of American Modern dance since its inception and is considered one of the world’s greatest dance companies. Acclaimed for its dramatic expression, technical mastery and expansive, yet nuanced movement, the Limón Dance Company illustrates the timelessness of José Limón’s work and vision. The Company’s repertory, which includes classic works in addition to new commissions from contemporary choreographers, possesses an unparalleled breadth and creates unique experiences for audiences around the world. Carla Maxwell led the Company from 1978-2016, before becoming the Foundation’s first Legacy Director, and Colin Connor assumed artistic leadership in July of 2016.

Choreographer and dancer José Limón is credited with creating one of the world’s most important and enduring dance legacies— an art form responsible for the creation, growth and support of modern dance in this country. Numerous honors have been bestowed upon both Limón and the Company he founded sixty-eight years ago in 1946, including most recently the White House’s 2008 National Medal of Arts for Lifetime Achievement. José Limón’s story is a powerful vehicle for reaching young people today. Immigrating to the United States from Mexico in 1918, Limón is considered one of Mexico’s greatest artistic exports, and a role model for Latino communities throughout the United States. Limón4Kids is an important addition to the Institute’s mission taking the Limón legacy directly into the classrooms of the most under-represented New York City’s public schools and community centers.

  • Click here to see the Chronology of José Limón and the José Limón Dance Foundation.
  • Click here to read about the Archives.