Limon Dance Company travels back in time from the present
By Slindile Mchunu
The Limón Dance Company (New York, USA) integrates the old with new on their platform at the 23rd JOMBA! Dance Experience with two works from Jóse Limón (co-founder of the dance company) that are two of the 20th century’s greatest works of modern choreography, together with a contemporary piece from emerging choreographer Chafin Seymour as the opening act in the programme.
It starts with Suite Donuts (2020) which pays homage to the music used in the piece, the album Timeless: Suite do Ma Dukes by Miguel Atwood Ferguson and Donuts by Hip-Hop producer DJ J. Dilla. The piece is very urban, it is contemporary dance with a twist, it merges a lot of dance styles into one such as hip-hop dancing with light foot work, and more body fluidity, hip-hop lite if you will.
The Moore’s Pavane follows, a piece from 1949 choreographed by Limón, the themes of Shakespeare’s Othello guide the narrative of this work. The handkerchief becomes the centerpiece and cause of disruption as evidence of an act that ultimately never happened, which becomes unavoidable fate between the characters involved. With themes such as racism and hatred being the focus of this work, it shows the worst side of human nature, of what happens when jealousy takes over a person, a piece and story that is still prevalent today. I enjoyed the costumes; they show the era in which the story takes place but a modernised version, with dresses exposing the shoulders and chest area, and the use of the handkerchief incorporated in the piece as the main protagonist.
Last but certainly not least, is There is a Time (1956), also originally choreographed by José Limón, was inspired by a text from chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes in the Bible and its summons of the lived human experience. Starting off with the opening of a large circle, filling the stage as if going through time — a time travel of sorts. The piece is graceful, elegant at its core while showcasing human experiences, which as we know aren’t always graceful. The complexities of life are what make it worthwhile, there is beauty in brokenness.
The programme is part of the “European and American Crossings” on the JOMBA! programme.