Limón Dance Company
The Centennial Birth of Anna Sokolow
Baryshnikov Arts Center
450 West 37th Street
New York, NY 10019
Revival of Anna Sokolow’s Rooms
Revival of José Limon’s There Is a Time
José Limón and Doris Humphrey, Founders
Carla Maxwell, Artistic Director
Roxane D’Orléans Juste, Associate Artistic Director
Gabriela Poler-Buzali, Executive Director
With Manhattan School of Music Jazz Ensemble
Justin DiCioccio, Conductor
Jay Rattman on Saxophones and Clarinet
Benje Daneman on Trumpet
Can Olgun on Piano
Lauren Falls on Bass
Austin Walker on Drums
Kathryn Alter, Raphaël Boumaïla, Durell R. Comedy,
Roxane D’Orléans Juste, Kristen Foote, Jonathan Frederickson,
Logan Kruger, Ashley Lindsey, Belinda McGuire, Dante Puleio,
Francisco Ruvalcaba, Daniel Fetecua Soto, Robin Wilson
Publicity: Audrey Ross
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 10, 2010
Doris Humphrey, a founder of American modern dance, performed for the Humphrey-Weidman Company between 1928 and 1944. José Limón was a performer with this Company, and, eventually, Ms. Humphrey became his Artistic Director in 1946 and created new works for him, as well. Carla Maxwell joined the Limón Dance Company in 1965 and was soon a Principal dancer and then Artistic Director. Ms. Maxwell danced many major roles with the Company and teaches internationally. The Limón Dance Company is now in its 63rd year and is committed to balancing classic modern dance works with contemporary commissioned works. Mr. Limón was known for dramatic choreography and masculine dancing. The Limón Dance Company was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2008. The Company is celebrating Anna Sokolow’s Centennial Birthday (February 9, 1910) and her genius as a Choreographer and Pioneer in Modern Dance. Ms. Sokolow emerged from the Martha Graham Dance Company. (Company Notes).
Rooms (1955): Choreography by Anna Sokolow, Commissioned Music by Kenyon Hopkins, Staging and Direction by Jim May, Costumes by Eleanor Bunker, Lighting Design by Joshua Rose, “Overture, Alone, A Dream, Escape, Going, Desire, Panic, Daydream, The End?, Alone”, Performed by the Company. Today was a full New York blizzard, with mounds of snow and stopped traffic. But, the operative words are New York, and hardy New Yorkers packed the new Baryshnikov Arts Center for the second night of the Limón Dance Company’s performances. In fact, Mikhail Baryshnikov sat right in front of me, and it was thrilling to see him there to support his performing groups. Rooms, a major Sokolow revival, was upbeat, melodic, and replete with rich choreographic ambiance.
The jazz artists began playing in darkness, before lights flashed and dancers appeared on chairs, sitting in various postures and shapes, everyone in their own space. As the piece progressed, dancers alternately sat with backs against the wall, did cartwheels, shifted emotional gestures, danced fast jazz, moved onto and off the chairs, and even lay on the floor on their stomachs. Dancers changed patterns of placement, and the women’s silky dresses often enhanced their allure or mystery. The live musicians played staccato percussion as well as smooth sax. The jazz ensemble added a dynamic component to this major revival. Each segment, such as “Alone”, “Escape”, and “Daydream” was played out instrumentally through tempo, rhythm, and volume. Choreographically, each segment brought crouches or stretches or quiet solitude. Rooms was created with a strong psychological center, and it’s easy to see Martha Graham’s influence here. Kudos to Anna Sokolow.
There Is a Time (1956): Choreography by José Limón, Music by Norman Dello Joio, Staging and Direction by Roxane D’Orléans Juste, Costumes by Katherine McDowell Patterson, Lighting Design by Carol Mullins, executed by Joshua Rose. This Limón 1950’s work begins with a circle, hands held, as the Company opens with biblical phrasing of Chapter 3 Ecclesiastes, “To every thing there is a season…” There are 12 segments in all, such as “A time to be born, and a time to die”, “A time to break down, and a time to build up”, “A time to hate, a time of war”.
This was an elegant work, well worth the trip in sleet and ice, full of flowing lines and thematic imagery. At times, the upward arm stretches were literally ethereal, but then the dancer/s would create a harvest or militant scenario. Dante Puleio danced the birth death segment with rich realism, expanded further with three men at the death sequence. Raphael Boumaila danced the solo “A time to kill” with impassioned force through his right shoulder, a study in dramatic violence, visually gripping. Further segments included additional circles, clapping, flailing gestures, weeping mime (“A time to mourn…and a time to weep”), led by Logan Kruger, Robin Wilson, and Kristen Foote, and then laughing and embracing, led by Belinda McGuire, followed by more joy and angst. Mr. Limón’s Latin heritage is truly woven into the zestful and vibrant motion that seamlessly sews each of the 12 segments as a window to the human condition. Kudos to José Limón, and kudos to Limón Dance Company.
Raphael Boumaila in Anna Sokolow's "Rooms"
Courtesy of Meems
Kathryn Alter in Anna Sokolow's "Rooms"
Courtesy of Meems
Early Photo of Anna Sokolow
Courtesy of Limón Dance Company
Late Photo of Anna Sokolow
Courtesy of Lionel Freedman
Opening Circle in Jose Limón's
"There is a Time"
Courtesy of David Levy