When Life Gives You Limóns

The José Limón Dance Company brings its acclaimed Centennial tour to The New LA Theater Center for 4 performances at 3 pm and 8 pm on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 25 and 26.

Limón was the first Mexican-American to successfully establish a modern dance company in the U.S. A seminal figure in American 20th century dance, he remains an artistic hero to the Mexican people.

This Dance Magazine Award-winning show presents two historic dances based on literary sources. “Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejia,” choreographed by the legendary Doris Humphrey for the debut concert of the Limón Dance Company, was inspired by the famous poem by Federico Garcia Lorca.

Humphrey was one of the first choreographers to weave spoken word into the fabric of her creations. This dance – a landmark masterwork combining theater, dance, and music – represents the fulfillment of her visionary life work. Creating the piece at the end of World War II, Humphrey “…intended to signify the struggle of all men of courage who contend in the ring of life, and who meet a tragic end.”

Also on the program is “The Moor’s Pavane,” based on Shakespeare’s tragic Othello. Premiering nearly 50 years ago, and utilizing the ‘pavane’ and other dance forms of the high Renaissance, the piece won the Dance Magazine Award for outstanding creation in the field of American modern dance. Since the 1960s, it has been featured in the repertory of such companies as the Paris Opera Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre.

On the same weekend, the Miami City Ballet performs the West Coast debut of Twyla Tharp and Elvis Costello’s “Nightspot” at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Performances are Friday through Sunday, Oct. 24-26.

Known for her innovation and creativity, Twyla Tharp has created some of the most intriguing and memorable works in modern dance repertory. “Nightspot” is her collaboration with Elvis Costello. His score for this dance intertwines original music with various motifs and quotations from his existing catalogue of songs. “Nightspot” features costumes designed by fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi.

Also on this program are Christopher Wheeldon’s “Liturgy,” and two George Balanchine works – “Tarantella,” and “Symphony in Three Movements,” all with live orchestra.

Miami City Ballet’s artistic director, former international star danseur Edward Villella, and dance historian and writer, Elizabeth Kaye, offer a pre-performance lecture one hour prior to curtain in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Grand Hall. — Penny Orloff

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