1950s: The Hybrid Body
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In 1950, modern dance reached a wide public in Mexico. Artist Miguel Covarrubias directed the new Department of Dance at INBA and invited renowned modern dancer José Limón to Mexico City. There Limón choreographed dances rooted in pre-Columbian myths while using modern techniques: the focus on the breath, grounding to the floor, and the isolation of parts of the body. Critics in Mexico embraced Limón as their own and applauded his gentlemanly performance of masculinity at a time when the state was campaigning to replace revolutionary aggression with bureaucracy. At the same time, critics in the United States claimed Limón as American. This chapter examines Limón’s hybrid humanist choreographies and his complicated role as Arts Ambassador for the United States during the Cold War.