Performing Arts: Dance
October 28, 2015
According to Laura Glenn, former Limon dancer, "Dances For Isadora" captures the essence of her evolution. First performed December 10, 1971 at the Cleveland Museum of Arts, Jose Limon titled this work “Five Evocations of Isadora Duncan." Roxane D’Orleans Juste performs the last of the five sections, The Scarf Dance, with magnificent conviction and subtlety. Amidst signs of physical degradation, she implies delusions of self glorification while justifying her celebrity. Repeatedly thrusting her hand forward as though intended for fans lining up to kiss it, she tosses and caresses her scarf as though it's an appendage from the earlier dances. All along, D'Orleans Juste abandons herself completely to the will of the Chopin piano music, played live by Michael Cherry, until her death.

Death is a recurring theme in this second to last program in the Limon anniversary season at the Joyce Theatre. Opening with Orfeo and closing with The Traitor, this program shows how much thought and emotional intelligence Limon brought to his dances. Orfeo and Carlota were the last two dances Limon created before he died in 1972. While Orfeo is based on the Greek myth in which he unites briefly with his beloved Eurydice, his own wife, the costume designer Pauline Lawrence, had just died the year before. Orfeo is ever the more poignant for the choreographer’s obvious connection, if not catharsis, to the story.

Terry Springer, a senior member of the Venzuela-based Coreoarte founded by the late Carlos Orta, performed Limon’s Chaconne set to J S. Bach’s Partita #2 in D minor for Unaccompanied Violin. The lasting impression of this solo is a centering of a soul. Each gesture is deliberate, each pose an intense meditation on weight, form and focus. Only a dancer with gravitas, which Springer definitely has, can pull off this challenging solo.

Setting The Traitor to Gunther Schuller’s Symphony for Brass and and Percussion forms an exuberant departure for Limon. According to John Mueller, Limon took his story from the betrayal of Jesus by Judas, while responding to the fears of communists, spies, and political traitors generated by the McCarthy era. With a great set design by Paul Trautvetter implying Roman arches and costumes by Lawrence, this dance for eight exudes a tremendous theatricality for what is essentially an ode to one man’s torment. What the others do frames the anguish of the man who set an execution in motion.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Deirdre Towers

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