José Limón (1908-1972) was a Mexican-American choreographer who continues
to be regarded as one of the modern dance world’s seminal creative
artists, known for his intense dramatic presence and the theatricality
and musicality of his dances. Here for the first time on
video are three of his most famous works with the original casts,
filmed in their entirety for the CBC in the 1950s.
B&W, 65 minutes, 4:3, All regions
THE MOOR’S PAVANE (1949) is generally considered to be one of the great masterworks
in the modern repertory. In the form of a Renaissance dance,
Limón distills the legend of Othello into a taut, one-act
human drama with music by Henry Purcell. Joining Limón
are his close collaborators Lucas Hoving, Pauline Koner
and Betty Jones.
Telecast date: March 6, 1955 (21 minutes)
THE TRAITOR (1954) was Limón’s response to the McCarthy
hearings and the climate of betrayal that haunted the
arts and entertainment fields during this period. Against
a music score of violence, passion and tenderness (by
Gunther Schuller), the tragedy of Judas is portrayed as if
it were taking place in modern times.
Telecast date: October 23, 1955 (19 minutes)
THE EMPEROR JONES (1956) is based upon the play by Eugene O’Neill wherein
a fugitive from a chain gang sets himself up as the ruler of
an island domain. He becomes a tyrant, and his mistreated
subjects eventually rebel and hunt him down. For this dance, Jose Limon
commissioned a musical score from Heitor Villa-Lobos.
Telecast date: March 13, 1957 (23 minutes)
Notes by NORTON OWEN