Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ruth Currier, José Limón dancer, 85

Ruth Currier, principal dancer with the José Limón Dance Company, director of that Company for five years, and noted modern dance teacher, died at her home in Brooklyn on October 4 at the age of 85. Born in Ashland, Ohio in 1926, Ms. Currier studied dance with José Limón and Doris Humphrey. She joined Limón's company in 1949 and remained with the group as a principal dancer for two decades, creating roles in some of Limón's most important and enduring works, including There is a Time and Missa Brevis.
Ruth Currier with José Limón
Currier began her choreographic career when she completed Doris Humphrey's Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 following Humphrey's death, and went on to become a dancemaker who created more than fifty works, including dances for the Limón Company and her own Ruth Currier Dance Company, which she formed in 1958.

After five years as artist-in-residence at Ohio State, she returned to New York to direct the
Limón Company, having been invited by the dancers to lead them after Limón's death in 1972. In her five years as director she distinguished herself at a time when conventional wisdom held that a modern dance company could not survive its founder. The New York Times dubbed her "something of a miracle worker." Among her major achievements for the Limón Dance Company were broadening the repertory beyond the Limón and Humphrey works, as well as the 1977 acquisition of Kurt Jooss's The Green Table.

Currier resigned from the
Limón Dance Company in 1978 and devoted her efforts for the next twenty years to the Limón Institute and her own Ruth Currier Dance Studio. Teaching had long been a central focus, with assignments over the years at Juilliard, Bennington, Sarah Lawrence, and in schools around the world. She defined the principles of Humphrey and Limón,, and established a formal base for using the principles to teach contemporary technique.

She is survived by the thousands that she touched as an artist and teacher.

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