"The Moor's Pavane" by Henry Purcell and José Limón

"The Moor's Pavane" is a 20-minute ballet based upon the tragedy "Othello" by William Shakespeare. The ballet was choreographed by José Limón to music arranged by Simon Sadoff from Henry Purcell's Abdelazer, The Gordion Knot Untied, and the pavane from Pavane and Chaconne for Strings. The ballet's four dancers represent The Moor, Desdemona, Iago, and Emilia. The work premiered at the Connecticut College American Dance Festival in 1949. American Ballet Theatre was the first company outside Limon's company to include the work in its repertory. José Limón himself danced the role of the Moor in the first performance in 1949. He once said that he selected only those elements of plot in Shakespeare's masterpiece that could truthfully be expressed in dance.



  • The Moor
  • Iago
  • Desdemona
  • Emilia

Production History

Date Venue Company
Dec 10, 1974 Uris Theatre
1949 Connecticut College American Dance Festival
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License