“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 six 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 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 phliosophy 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 assemble 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.
2015 Limón4Kids Teaching Artists
|Roxane D’Orléans Juste, Director of Limón4Kids, a native of Montreal, Canada, has been a member of the Limón Dance Company since 1983 and is also the Associate Artistic Director. She has also performed with the Eleo Pomare Dance Company and Annabelle Gamson Dance Solos. Ms. D’Orléans Juste’s choreography has been presented by Toronto Danceworks, Shoenberg Dancycle, Dia Center for the Arts, L’Agora de la Danse, The Yard, and the Museé du Quebec. She was honored with the Canadian Dance Award, Le Prix Jacqueline Lemieux (1980), and is the recipient of several grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Foundation for Creation in Fine Arts. An active master teacher, she also stages José Limón’s choreography for companies and ensembles around the world.|
|Mica Bernas, originally from Manila, Philippines, received her training at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Dance School studying ballet, modern and other techniques. She later on became a soloist of Ballet Philippines, performing major roles in productions and worked with acclaimed Filipino choreographers like Agnes Locsin, Denisa Reyes, Tony Fabella, Alden Lugnasin, Novy Bereber. Since moving to New York in 2006, Mica has worked with Carolyn Dorfman Dance, Connecticut Ballet, H.T. Chen & Dancers, White Wave Dance, Armitage Gone Dance, and Gallim Dance. She also worked Ginette Laurin, Artistic Director of O Vertigo as part of Springboard Danse Montreal in 2014. Mica is currently on faculty at BIMA at Brandeis University.
|Kurt Douglas received his BFA in Dance from The Boston Conservatory, where he was the recipient of the Ruth Solomon Ambrose Scholarship Award. He performed with the Boston Dance Theatre and The Boston Conservatory Dance Theatre in works by, Paul Taylor, Martha Graham, and Lar Lubovitch. Kurt then Joined The Limon Dance Company in 2001. He has also been a Guest Artist with The Thang Dao Dance Company, Ballet Hispanico, and The Sean Curran Dance Company. Kurt has also produced and conducted Limon Dance workshops Boston, New York, Oregon, Dallas, and Bristol, England. Most recently Kurt earned his Master’s of Fine Arts degree in dance from Hollins University in association with The American Dance Festival, Frankfurt Conservatory of Performing Arts and the Forsythe Company in Frankfurt, Germany.|
|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.|
|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.|
|Durell R. Comedy, a native of Prince Georges County MD, began dancing at the age of 6 with Spirit Wings Dance Company. He graduated from the Visual & Performing Arts program of Suitland High School in 2004 and from George Mason University (magna cum laude), receiving his BFA Degree in Dance Performance in 2008. Since then, he has worked and performed with artists such as the Mark Morris Dance Group, The Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Troy Powell, Matthew Rushing, CorbinDances, Roger C. Jeffrey|Subtle Changes & Kyle Abraham|Abraham.In.Motion. Described as a “scrupulous dancer with a serious jump” by the New York Times, Mr. Comedy was a soloist dancer with the Baltimore Opera Company in their production of Aida, a Principal Dancer in Washington National Opera’s production of Show Boat. A former fellowship student at the Ailey School, Mr. Comedy joined the Limón Dance Company in 2009.|
|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.|
Thank You letters from past participants
Photos by Nan Melville