Three modern dance classics - Jose Limon
Limón (1908-1972) was a Mexican-American choreographer who continues to be regarded as one of the modern dance world’s seminal creative artists, known for his intense dramatic presence and the theatricality and musicality of his dances. Here for the first time on video are three of his most famous works with the original casts, filmed in their entirety for the CBC in the 1950s.
THE MOOR’S PAVANE (1949) is generally considered to be one of the great masterworks in the modern repertory. In the form of a Renaissance dance, Limón distills the legend of Othello into a taut, one-act human drama with music by Henry Purcell. Joining Limón are his close collaborators Lucas Hoving, Pauline Koner and Betty Jones.
THE TRAITOR (1954) was Limón’s response to the McCarthy hearings and the climate of betrayal that haunted the arts and entertainment fields during this period. Against a music score of violence, passion and tenderness (by Gunther Schuller), the tragedy of Judas is portrayed as if it were taking place in modern times.
THE EMPEROR JONES (1956) is based upon the play by Eugene O’Neill wherein a fugitive from a chain gang sets himself up as the ruler of an island domain. He becomes a tyrant, and his mistreated subjects
eventually rebel and hunt him down. For this dance, Limón commissioned a musical score from Heitor Villa-Lobos.