Performing Arts: Dance
May 14, 2018
“Conjurations” is the name of the compelling choreography for the Limon Dance Company by Adam Barruch, and also the implied theme for Program B presented at the Joyce Theatre. The dancers invoke a sacred realm, with a solemnity rarely experienced. Under the new directorship of Colin Connor, the Limon Company never breaks the spell, excepting the high volume of Roarke Menzies’ music - “The Escape, used by Barruch.

Mark Willis as Geronimo in Jose Limon’s work that premiered in 1970 The Unsung and in Missa Brevis, is formidable; his presence has the depth and sincerity of the master dancer and choreographer Limon.

The approaches of Limon and Barruch balance each other. Limon stretches arms to the heavens, jumps in an arch or falls to his knees beseeching out and beyond while Barruch releases tension in a middle range, capping a tighter circle of energy. Colin Connor’s The Body is a House without Walls, a work for six women, set to an extraordinarily modern work by Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Sonata #32, performed by Glenn Gould, recalls the spiritual search of Limon’s.

In The Unsung,seven men, stripped to the waist, face each other in a circle with their splayed hands sandwiching their heads. They move in unison or threes, leaving the stage for each man's solo. In this homage to the dignity and strength of Native Americans, the dancers make the score by stamping the soles of their feet in unison, or slapping the top of their foot against the floor.

Limon’s Missa Brevis, originally performed April 11, 1958 to music by Zoltan Kodaly, Missa Brevis in Tempore Belli, has twelve sections set to a score for chorus and organ. When the women in earth tone dresses and the men in shirts and long pants first appear in a cluster, bending from the waist to the right, one can see Limon’s gifts as a painter. As the dancers skitter from one side of the stage to another, stopping with the legs in second and their arms reaching out in diagonals, one can imagine them navigating an unnameable force.

Kirsten Foote who danced with the company at the Joyce just wrote in Dance Magazine, Missa Brevis is marking its 60th anniversary this year, and the work, depicting both power, vulnerability and sense of community, still speaks to our time, and to our humanity. It is especially relevant today, with society as divided and disconnected as it currently appears. This work is about rebuilding while overcoming adversity, and is a testament to the power of hope and perseverance to mend a community.”
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Deirdre Towers

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