Photo © Chris Jones
United Kingdom/United States
Colin Connor’s wide ranging dance career encompasses being the award winning choreographer of over sixty works, the Artistic Director of the American legacy Limón Dance Company, an educator at many of the world’s foremost dance centers, a Professor Emeritus at the California Institute for the Arts, and an internationally recognized dancer.
Born in London, UK, Mr. Connor began dancing in Canada, was a soloist with the Limón Dance Company for eight years, guest performed with several other companies, and toured extensively with his own work. His dancing prompted responses such as “wheels and pitches like a sun falling through the heavens” in the New York Times, “Achieving moments of great beauty and showing that intensity of movement which is characteristic of really fine dancers” in Spain’s El Pais, and “The dancer with force in his blood moves differently from the one who wears his nerves on the edge of the skin” in Mexico’s Uno Mas Uno.
Mr. Connor’s over sixty choreographic works span the worlds of contemporary, ballet and flamenco companies, and have been presented across the Americas and Europe, including at the Joyce Theater in New York (The Weather in the Room, The Body Is a House without Walls, Corvidae, Vestiges and Streets and Legends,)the Momment’Homme Festival in Montreal (The Survivor,) Jacob’s Pillow (Corvidae and August,) The Holland Festival in Den Hague (Absence is Never Far,)and the Festival Internacional de Danza Contemporanea in San Luis Potosi, Mexico (The Rosegarden.) His Full Sail - in praise of storms won Sarasota Ballet’s International Choreography Competition. He was the winner of the Charleston Ballet Theatre’s Fountainhead Choreography Competition, has twice been a guest choreographer at both The Yard and The Carlisle Project, and was in residence at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography for a creative process with the Limón Dance Company.
His work includes radical collaborations that mine aesthetic juxtapositions such as: Solea and the Winds, a Contemporary / Flamenco evening which toured for three years across Europe, and garnered wide acclaim such as “Succeeded in an impossible mission – Bravo!” in Dance Europe; the cross-generational The Weather in the Room, with an older couple of mature artists illuminating a long time relationship with younger dancers as the “weather” of the relationship, prompting Christine Jowers to write in Dance Enthusiast: “So how is humanity choreographed in the 21st Century? Colin Connor’s Weather In the Room…finely-wrought intergenerational work…They rivet us”; and Streets and Legends for Richmond Ballet, called “a witty and successful blend of the traditional and the contemporary” in Dance Magazine. Other collaborations include work with bluegrass band The Biscuit Boys, Emmy award winning theater designer, Charles Schoonmaker, and many other artists, including film director Natalie Metzger, with whom he created ARENA, winner of best experimental film at the California Womens’ Film Festival and best music video at Silent River Film Festival.
Commissions, creations and re-mountings of his work include, among others, the Limón Dance Company (3 works), Richmond Ballet (5 works), Island Moving Company (5 works), the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre (5 works), Atlanta Ballet, Finland’s Damaru Dance Theater, Sarasota Ballet, Pennsylvania Dance Theater, Dayton Ballet and Hartford Ballet. He has choreographed for the Juilliard School (3 works,) and numerous other major training centers including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center (2 works,) the Rotterdamse Dansacademie, the California Institute of the Arts (10 works,) the London School of Contemporary Dance, Boston Conservatory and New York University / Tisch School of the Arts. Productions have been funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, Altria, and the New York State Council on the Arts among other funding agencies.
As Artistic Director of the Limón Dance Company, and the José Limón Dance Foundation, Mr. Connor created moving evenings with charged dialogue between classics brought to vibrant life and fiercely contemporary new works by humanly engaged choreographers from radically different backgrounds. “An unforgettable experience… This troupe is not stuck in its great past, but has a clear way for itself in the future.” Oliver Schikora, Main Post, Germany. He brought excitement to performances - “The dancers performed with a luscious spontaneity…this was alive.” New York Times, Gia Kourlas. He brought into the repertory exciting contemporary choreographers including Kate Weare, Francesca Harper, Adam Baruch, Rosie Herrera, Yin Yue, and Chafin Seymour whose work is the Company’s first co-commission with the American Dance Festival in over fifteen years. Both ADF and Jacob’s Pillow invited the Company to return to these iconic venues for the first time in over a dozen years. “Suddenly they looked more like today…Perhaps under the direction of new Artistic Director, Colin Connor, the definition of humanity in the Limon Company is changing…to renew a kind of rawness that Limon had in 1959.” Wendy Perron, Dance Magazine.
For the Limón Institute Mr. Connor clarified and refocused education programs. The National Association of Schools of Dance reported that “The new Artistic Director has been very effective in integrating the missions of the Institute with the Foundation and the Company.” He leaves a strong artistic and educational future for the Limón Dance Company and the José Limón Dance Foundation through his fostering of new generations of Limón dancers, teachers, directors and leaders.
Mr. Connor is a Professor Emeritus at the California Institute of the Arts, where he was full-time faculty for fifteen years and the Director of Student Professional Development. He has been on the faculties of The Juilliard School, New York University (where he also worked as a choreographer and movement teacher for the Theater Department’s Classical Studio,) and the City College of New York (where he was also Choreographer in Residence.) He has also been a guest teacher at many of the finest training centers in the world including the London School of Contemporary Dance, the Rotterdamse Dansacademie, Jacob’s Pillow, Dresden’s Palucca Schule, California State University Fullerton, the Joffrey School Summer Program, The Dance Studio in Novosibirsk, Russia, University of California Irvine, and the Rubin Academy in Jerusalem.