featured photo
The Kitchen
Brought to you by
the New York manufacturer of fine dance apparel for women and girls. Click here to see a sample of our products and a list of web sites for purchasing.
With Body Wrappers it's always
performance at its best.

Go back to Flash Reviews
Go Home

Flash News, 5-26: Pavane for a Dancer
Limon Legend Carlos Orta Passes Away

By Dance Insider Staff
Copyright 2004 The Dance Insider

NEW YORK -- Carlos Orta, for more than 20 years a prototypical interpreter of the works of Jose Limon and an eloquent Othello in Limon's 1949 "Moor's Pavane," died suddenly on the afternoon of May 15 at the corner of Houston and Broadway, not far from the studios of the Limon Institute, where he taught, of an apparent heart attack, according to friends. (At press time, autopsy results were not available.) Limon Dance Company artistic mentor Donald McKayle confirmed the news to the Dance Insider.

"I received a phone call from (company director) Carla Maxwell on Sunday morning (May 16) to tell me this tragic news," McKayle told the DI in an e-mail message, following a query based on reports the DI had received.

"Carla was the first person they called," McKayle said. "Her name was at the front of the address book he was carrying. Because she was not a relative, they could not give her any details. There will be an autopsy, because of the nature of his death." Orta was reportedly alone when he passed away. "He was a man in the best of health all the time, full of life, always with many interesting projects in the works. He had an active professional life here and in his native country, Venezuela. His dance company, CoreoArte, had a summer residency with Limon a few years back. I met Carlos in the mid- '70s in Koln at the International Sommer Academie. He was a wonderful dancer and a man of great creativity in every aspect of his life. I will miss him."

Orta, 60, performed as a member of the Limon Dance Company from 1979 to 2000, and also appeared with the Folkwang Ballett, Tanztheater Wuppertal, and the Koln Tanz-Forum. As a choreographer, he'd created works for Tanz-Forum, Netherlands Dance Theatre, and the Limon company. In his native Venezuela, he made work for the Ballet Nuevo Mundo, the Chamber Ballet of Caracas and Danza Hoy. The International Academy of Dance in Koln awarded Mr. Orta the Audience Prize in 1975 and the Jury Prize in 1976 for his choreography. In 1983, Orta founded his own Venezuelan company, CoreoArte Dance Company, with Noris Ugueto. In August, 1985, the Venezuelan government honored him with its highest artistic recognition, the Prize of Dance. Orta has been a member of the Dance Committee of International Theater Institute/UNESCO since June, 1995. At the time of his passing, he was also on the faculty of the Limon Institute.

Orta became the signature Othello in Limon's take on the Shakespeare tragedy. Reviewing a 1999 performance at the Joyce Theater, the New York Times's Leslie Kandell wrote, "With long expressive hands, free arm movements and scarlet velvet robe, Carlos Orta makes a compelling Moor -- loving, kicking, stiff-arming and lamenting, strongly in contrast to the sweet innocence of his bride (Roxane D'Orleans Juste) and to the hawklike whisperings of his poisonous friend...."

According to Limon executive director Mark Jones, Orta's death came as he was about to begin rehearsals for a play by Federico Garcia Lorca being presented at the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival. When Jones last encountered him, the day before he died, Orta was "very excited about this stage debut."

Tribute performances will be held tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday night, beginning at 7:30 p.m., at the Puffin Room, 435 Broome Street.

Go back to Flash Reviews
Go Home