Limón Dance company pays tribute to late founders, impresses with traditional American modern dance

Whether it’s the viral a cappella group VoicePlay or the eclectic instrumental group Sultans of Strings, the Limelight and Accent series always gives the Geneseo community an amazing experience, and their last show of the semester was no exception. 

Under the leadership of artistic director Colin Connor, executive director Juan José Escalante and legacy director Carla Maxwell, the Limón Dance Company presented their expertise in American modern dance on Saturday Dec. 2 in Wadsworth Auditorium. 

The company, which consists of 12 gifted dancers, was created in 1946 by renowned choreographers Jose Limón and Doris Humphrey. A major theme of the performance was the “resilience of the human spirit,” according to the show’s program. 

The first feature was the most thought-provoking of the evening. “The Unsung,” which was originally choreographed by Limón, was a “rhythmic homage to Native American life danced by all men,” according to the show’s program.

“The Unsung” was a nearly 20-minute long silent interpretive dance, with the only sound coming from stomps and deep breaths of the performers. The focused dancers cycled in and out to create collaborative and solo dances that elicited great emotion and meaning.

The second dance was titled “The Body is a House Without Walls.” With original choreography from Connor, accompanied by Ludwig van Beethoven’s song, “Piano Sonata #32: Arietta,” the dance began with a single spotlight on a fallen female dancer who was dressed in red as other female dancers encircled her. As the music played on, the dancers slowly cut away at her dress, revealing the dancer in just her white undergarments. For a large part of the dance, the woman was propped up and was only moved by other dancers. 

The performance “Conjurations” featured only two dancers, Alex McBride and Savannah Spratt. The two danced strictly in a box of tape on the stage that was lit by spotlights. 

“Chaconne” was a special homage to the late Limón and a recreation of his powerful solo performance. The solo dancer Jesse Obremski expressed himself in a single spotlight with a harsh red scrim and violin solo from Bach’s “Chaconne from Partita #2 in D Minor for Unaccompanied Violin” as he moved to the speed of the instrument’s tune. 

The last piece was surely the most collaborative of all the performances. In memory of Humphrey, the excerpt from “A Choreographic Offering” is based on themes from her works. It features five parts, beginning and ending with the whole company, as they danced in pairs.

The stage was incredibly bright with colorful outfits and lighting. They danced to Bach’s “A Musical Offering” which almost brought the audience back to older times with a harsh harpsichord sound but melodic flute tune.

Communication major junior Allison Kompare attended the event, and was pleased with what she saw.

“I thought the performance was colorful and it made me think of dance in a more untraditional way,” Kompare said. “The last dance with the entire company was for sure my favorite. Everyone was well coordinated and you could tell the dancers knew exactly what they were doing.”

Geneseo Campus Activities Board music and comedy coordinator senior Leila Sedigh noted a very important aspect of Limelight shows like the Limón Dance Company. 

“I think Limelight shows are important to have on the Geneseo campus because it provides a very professional performing art series that’s easy for students to attend and also for the community to attend,” Sedigh said. “This is a cheap and easily accessible art series for the students that showcases talent and art forms from all over the world … which I think is really important for the community to get exposed to.”

Overall, the finale to the fall 2017 Limelight and Accent series was a satisfying one, ending with a talented and thought-provoking performance piece that left students and the campus community wanting more for next semester.u

 For the Limelight and Accents final show of the semester, the Limón Dance Company presented their skills in American modern dance. The ensemble draws inspiration from its founding choreographers Jose Limón and Doris Humphrey and exhibited the strength of the human spirit through their interpretative moves. (Catherine White/Arts & Entertainment Editor)

For the Limelight and Accents final show of the semester, the Limón Dance Company presented their skills in American modern dance. The ensemble draws inspiration from its founding choreographers Jose Limón and Doris Humphrey and exhibited the strength of the human spirit through their interpretative moves. (Catherine White/Arts & Entertainment Editor)