LIMON DANCE COMPANY
May 7, 2017
The program greets us with Limon work first premiered in 1946, soon travelling through the fifties and sixties, interspersed with the offerings of a couple 21st century dancemakers. This is the new normal among the long-standing companies of modern dance pioneers like Jose Limon. And it’s a win-win approach, giving audiences a taste of the classic alongside the contemporary, and the company a continued, versatile lifespan.
This being Limon Dance Company’s first season under former company member Colin Connor’s artistic direction, it was only fitting that his work make the program. Entitled “Corvidae,” it’s a dark movement homage to ravens and crows. A sleek sextet glides back and forth, spurting up from sections of heavily grounded floor work. Connor and Keiko Voltaire’s varied black costumes add an additional touch of modern and sultriness.
It came in sharp contrast to the program’s opener: “Concerto Grosso,” which reads as a classic. The trio delivers Limon’s joyful visualization of Antonio Vivaldi’s “Concerto #11 in D Major, Opus 3.” It feels vintage from the monochromatic costumes to the elegant, poised movement in perfect dialogue with the music.
The real sense of drama—no stranger to Limon’s repertoire—was presented in “The Exiles.” This 1950 duet emerged as one of the night’s stronger performances, thanks to the excellent pairing of Kristen Foote and Mark Willis. They command in their roles as Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden, meeting both the technical and physical demands of the choreography, and the amped up emotional underpinnings at work.
The seventy year old company made a collective impact in the performances of a suite from “A Choreographic Offering.” Notably, this work marks Limon’s 1964 tribute to mentor and fellow modern dance master, Doris Humphrey. The diversity of movement sections and the sheer number of dancers in the smoothly-executed ensemble phrases give it that feel-good, timeless quality that would have made a strong closer to this program.
Instead, we leap back to present day for the last work of the evening, “Night Light” by Kate Weare. A dozen company members fill the stage, dressed in flowing blue shirts. Yet, it’s pairs that are highlighted in emotional, pull-your-head-into-my-chest moments. The duo’s movement devolves to the rest, who ripple in and out in this energy-fueled, peel-away effect that becomes the work’s hallmark.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY – Jenny Thompson