Jose Arcadio Limon,(1908-1972), was one of the most prominent American choreographers in modern dance. Although he received a classical training, his works were mostly contemporary in style and inspired by literary sources. His choreography is powerful, focusing on human drama, and often with incorporated themes of history and religion. Limon is best known for his piece The Moor's Pavane, based on Shakespeare's "Othello". His other works include The Traitor, based on Judas Iscariot's betrayal of Christ, and There is a Time, based on the Book of Ecclesiastes.
Born in Culican, Mexico, Limon moved to the United States with his family when he was seven years old. He became interested in dance only at the age of twenty, after having studied painting in college. Inspired by the modern dancers Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman, he began his training by joining their company. Shortly after World War II, he founded his own modern dance company, which quickly became one of the most renowned in its time. In 1949, he choreographed his most famous work, The Moor's Pavane. Because of it's success, Limon's company was able to grow, staging such productions as Missa Brevis (which protrayed the survival of religion during the war), and Carlota.
I have only seen one of Limon's pieces; the famous The Moor's Pavane. This however was enough to convince me that Jose Limon was an astounding choreographer. The piece was not very long, but done with such intensity that I was completely absorbed by it. The four characters, (Othello, Desdemona, Iago and Brabantio) were in a continuous state of motion, and yet each movement managed to convey the underlying passion and depth of the story. The skill and accuracy with which Limon had been able to interpret something so powerful through dance amazed me.