Limón4Kids is an arts and education program that introduces modern dance pioneer, José Limón, to grades 2 through 12 in New York City schools located in largely Hispanic neighborhoods. The program focuses on the goals of dance-making, dance technique, dance literacy, and performing within the realm of the Limón-Humphrey technique and philosophy.
The Limón4Kids program started in 2009 and has quickly developed from serving just 150 students to more than 600 students per year. Schools in Harlem, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, and Rockland County have benefited from this dynamic program which is free of cost to all participants.
Limón’s personal story as a Mexican-American immigrant will introduce the students to such concepts as heritage, community, and identity. The movement classes will be used as a tool to help students develop movement language skills and discuss social issues that may be relevant to their own life journey. The Limón4Kids students will learn famous and culturally rooted works of Limón to gain knowledge of the Limón movement philosophy and dance as an art form. After learning sections of Limón’s choreography, students will be asked to create their own dance, taking into account narrative and core movement phrases.
At the conclusion of the school residency, students will take part in an assembly performance for their classmates, teachers, and parents of the participating school. The students also watch the Limón Dance Company perform. Support for the pilot program was generously provided by the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation, Mex- Am Foundation, and the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Roxane D’Orleans Juste instituted the José Limón Dance Foundation’s first Arts and Education Program in 1999. She develops repertory-based curricula and garners a faculty of skilled current and former Limón Dance Company performing teaching artists for the LINKS Limón Initiative Nurturing Kids, Limón4Kids NYC, and Limón4Kids Saludarte Programs in Mexico City.
“When the students finally figured out a complex spatial formation along with challenging musical phrases, they jumped for joy and gave each other high fives. It was such a treat to see them own their progress which also gave them more appreciation for the work.” – Elementary School Faculty (2019)
“Being exposed to modern dance and the history of modern dance through the work of José Limón and the dancers who have studied his work is an irreplaceable experience for my students and school community.” – High School Faculty (2019)
“[During Limón4Kids] I learned to put your all into something, be it dance, school, or anything you’re passionate about.” – High School Student (2019)
*Photos by Anthony Collins