“To the young I say: Do not for an instant abandon that most indispensable asset of artist, your courage.”
Limón4Kids is an arts and education program that introduces contemporary dance and 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 is now nine years old 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 the participants of the Limón4Kids program.
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.
2017 Limón4Kids Teaching Artists
|Roxane D’Orléans Juste, Director of Limón4Kids, is a native of Montreal and of Haitian origins. She graduated from Toronto’s National Ballet School Teacher training program and pursued her classical ballet training in Europe and moved to New York to begin her professional performing career. In New York Ms. D’Orleans Juste joined the Eleo Pomare Dance Company in 1981, performed and toured with Annabelle Gamson Dance Solos and with the Limón Dance Company since 1983. With the continued support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Foundation for creation in fine arts, Ms Juste has founded “en Solo” a platform for her own choreography and specially commissioned works by internationally renowned choreographers. “En Solo “concerts have been presented in Canada, Germany, the United States and in South America. Ms. Juste is the choreographer in residence for the company Coreoarte in Caracas, Venezuela and serves as co-chair of the board since 2014. An active master teacher she stages and directs the dances of Jose Limón for companies and ensembles around the world as well as directs the Limón Teachers Program in Europe, United States and in Montreal, Canada. For the José Limón Dance Foundation she has instituted LINKS and Limón4Kids , two free of costs programs dedicated to bring dance to young students from performing arts school programs in New York City as well as serving students from the public school system. She was named Artistic Associate Director for the Limón Company in 2007 . Ms. D’orleans Juste won a Bessie Award in the performer category for Oustanding sustained Achievement for “her majestic presence, infectious lightness and joyousness and emotional depth in works by Jose Limon, Donald Mckayle, Susanne Linke and others.” She is a guest teacher for the Tanz Wuppertal /Pina Baush Dance Company in Europe and in New York and for the Essen University for the Arts. She joined the dance faculty at Marymount Manhattan College in 2014.|
|Louisa Armstrong earned a BFA in Dance from Adelphi University, then completed the Limón Professional Studies Program. She has performed as a guest dancer with the Limón Dance Company in the José Limón International Dance festival at the Joyce Theater. She currently dances for Dance Visions NY, UrbanHumans, and Lauren Butler & Co. Louisa is a dance teacher at Next Step Broadway and Jumpstart Creative Movement. She loves sharing her passion for dance with young dancers and is excited to begin her second year as a Limón4Kids teacher.|
|Daniel Fetecua Soto, a native of Bogotá, Colombia, has performed with DFUN (Danzas Folcloricas Universidad Nacional) and PSOAS Contemporary Dance Company in Colombia. He holds a BFA from Folkwang-hochschule, Germany, and has appeared as a guest artist in Pina Bausch’s masterpieces, Rite of Spring and Tannhaeuser. Mr. Fetecua has also worked with La Fura dels Baus, Kuo Chu Wu and won a Salsa Award in the European Salsa Championship in 2004. His company, Pajarillo Pintao, founded in 2003, is currently touring in Germany and Italy. Mr. Fetecua wishes to thank dance professors and mentors, Libby Nye and Lutz Förster.|
|Belinda McGuire, originally from Toronto, graduated from the Juilliard School. She danced with many choreographers, including Gallim Dance and Doug Varone and Dancers, and was a member of The José Limón Dance Company until 2013. She teaches as a guest artist in New York City at Dance New Amsterdam and The Limón Institute, and in Toronto at CCDT, Cawthra Park SS and York University. Her choreography has been presented at the Yucatan in Mexico, Ottawa and Toronto in Canada and in New York City. She is a recipient of the 2008 Bessie Schönberg Residency at the Yard, and was recognized by the 2007 Susan Braun Award of The Dance Films Association.|
|Sameena Mitta is a graduate of the “professional ballet training programme” of The School of Dance in Ottawa, where in 1998 she was honoured as the recipient of the Celia Franca Scholarship. She then pursued her studies in contemporary dance, mainly in the Limon style. In 1999 she was awarded with distinction, the Associate Diploma of the Cecchetti Society. Sameena has spent over 15 years teaching and working as a freelance modern dancer performing for numerous choreographers and schools in Canada and abroad. In 2008, she successfully completed the Master’s program in Dance-Creation at UQAM focusing on Movement Therapy for survivors of domestic violence. The following year she traveled to Japan to teach and to create her first independent dance film. Upon completion of the 2011 Teaching Contemporary Limón course in England, she then joined Jenniferchindance on a Central American tour, teaching and performing contemporary Limón work. Sameena has been choreographing for several years and has presented her work in North America, India, Japan and Europe. She has been teaching dance to at-risk youth in Toronto through her own program called, MADHops. When not in the dance studio, Sameena enjoys learning to play new musical instruments.|
|Elisa Schreiber hails from St. Louis, Missouri. She holds a BA in English and a minor in dance – received under the direction of Clay Taliaferro – from Duke University. Since graduating, Elisa has had the pleasure of performing solo works by Anna Sokolow, Doris Humphrey, and Jose Limón in New York and abroad. Elisa has worked with the Swiss-based company FlowingDanceCompany, Dance Heginbotham, and was a guest artist with the Limón Dance Company from 2011-2015. Currently, Elisa is on faculty at the Limón Institute and Marymount Manhattan College – she is delighted to be a part of Limon4Kids for her third year!|
|Meggi Sweeney Smith, originally from Carrollton, Missouri earned her BFA in dance and minor in music from the University of Kansas and her MA in dance education from NYU Steinhardt. She has performed as a soloist with companies such as the New York Baroque Dance Company, Sokolow Dance/Theater Ensemble, Cohen/Suzeau, and CorbinDances, and has performed works by José Limón, Kate Skarpetowska, Wally Cardona, and Douglas Dunn among others. While studying with master teachers such as Betty Jones, Fritz Ludin, Sarah Stackhouse, and Jim May, Meggi also attended the Limón: East Coast Summer Program in 2010 and completed the Teaching Contemporary Limón Workshop with Alan Danielson in 2013. Meggi currently teaches as an adjunct professor at NYU and William Paterson University, as well as for after school dance programs, open classes, and workshops for professional performance companies in the NYC area. She is grateful for her wonderful mentors and for the opportunity to share her passion for modern dance through teaching and performance.|
Thank You letters from past participants
Photos by Nan Melville