Dance is about emotions and ideas, and this approach to movement drives the Company’s activities beyond the performance space. When on tour, the Company conducts a variety of programs: master classes offer students opportunities to learn from artists who are immersed in the Limón style and repertory; workshops, lectures, and pre- and post-performance talks educate participants in Limón history and tradition and build a deeper understanding of the Company’s work.
Limón4Kids is an arts and education program introducing middle-school youth in largely Hispanic neighborhoods in New York City schools to modern dance and to modern dance pioneer José Limón. The program focuses on the goals of dance-making, dance technique, dance literacy, and performing.
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Limón’s personal story introduces the students to such concepts as heritage, community, identity and communication. The movement classes are used as a tool to help students develop movement language skills, thread through both an artist’s and their own imaginary world. Students create their own dance in relationship to the story, and have the opportunity to perform their work for their friends at the final assembly. 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.
José Limón’s master work, “Missa Brevis”, is a large-scale work depicting an indomitable humanity rising up after near-destruction. This stirring work is choreographed for a large cast of dancers and set to a musical score which includes full choir and organ. This project provides the opportunity for the to Limón’s Dance Company to partner with communities to perform the work. In advance of the tour, a Company member or master teacher teaches the piece to professional or advanced dancers in the community. In addition, Limón collaborates with local choirs to perform the music live. While in residence in the community, workshops open to the public include lectures on “Missa Brevis” or the life of José Limón’s, lecture-demonstrations, film screenings, master classes and workshops.
Performances of “Missa Brevis” are a true collaboration between the Limón Dance Company and the local community, exposing Limón’s work and modern dance to a new and broader audience.