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José Limón: The Mestizo as Ambassador: Beginnings


Born in Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico, dancer and choreographer José Limón (January 12, 1908 – December 2, 1972) was one of the most prolific exponents of modern dance in the 20th century. Crossing the border from Mexico into the United States in 1915 at an impressionable seven years of age, he would leave in the middle of the Mexican Revolution, an event that critically shaped this transition to a new geopolitical space.

Limón came to dancing late in life, beginning classes and joining the company of Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman in 1929. He took his first tentative steps as a choreographer in 1931 and very quickly became part of the senior artistic team with Humphrey, serving as a lead  dancer and adding to the company’s repertory.



Central group of dancers is dressed in all black and balanced on one foot. Two lone figures stand still on either side, facing each other.

Photograph of the Humphrey-Weidman Group with Limón in center facing Charles Weidman, by Edward Moeller, c. 1932,

Humphrey -Weidman Group No. 129, Courtesy of NYPL's Digital Collections, Image ID 4021886.

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