José Limón

José Limón (1908-1972) was born in Culiacan, Mexico in 1908. When he was seven, his family moved to Arizona and later to Los Angeles. In 1928, after a year at UCLA as an art major, Limón moved to New York to continue his art studies. It was there that he saw his first dance concert – one by German expressionists Harald Kreutzberg and Yvonne Georgi – which changed his life. Limón enrolled in the dance school of Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman, and between 1930 and 1940 performed in most of their works. During this period he also began to choreograph, and formed a small concert group. In addition, Limón danced in and choreographed several Broadway productions. In 1946, with Doris Humphrey as his artistic director, Limón collected a small group of dancers and formed his own company. During the ensuing years, many of his works were recognized as masterpieces and his company grew in size and stature, becoming the first group to tour abroad under the auspices of the State Department’s Cultural Exchange Program. Limón performed several times at the White House, and was the recipient of numerous commissions, awards and honorary doctorates. During his lifetime, Limón choreographed seventy-four works, the most famous of which is The Moor’s Pavane. Some of his other works include Missa Brevis, The Traitor, The Exiles, There Is a Time, Emperor Jones, Carlota, The Unsung Dances for Isadora, and A Choreographic Offering. José Limón died on December 2, 1972. Today, The José Limón Dance Foundation continues his work through two entities: The Limón Dance Company, an international touring repertory company; and The Limón Institute, an educational and archival resource organization.   

< Back to Company Bios