the Alegado Movement Language
“After leaving the José Limón Dance Company in the mid-80s, it seemed natural for me to teach classes from the perspective of the Limón tradition. Yet, with each year that passed, it became clear I was beginning to find my own personal way of moving.
In 2016, after several years of experience and thorough research of the work – with the unwavering support of my assistant Blanka Flora Csasznyi – I chose to distinguish my work in class by naming it the Alegado Movement Language (AML).
As time passed, it became clear my work needed to have further definition. Even though AML distinguished itself from the José Limón tradition, Blanka and I concluded that my work needed a more descriptive term for the evolution of my movement vocabulary.
In my work, I’ve always used the image of the earth and its gravitational pull. Roots became a constant theme when referring to my movement quality. The importance of the pelvis in its relationship to the earth has also been a defining characteristic in my work.
Shifting Roots – Alegado Movement Language came to be the term which best described the foundation of my movement philosophy.”
– Joe Alegado
SHIFTING ROOTS – Alegado Movement Language (AML) is the synthesis of the principles of the José Limón Technique and the movement qualities and characteristics developing from those concepts. After many years of evolution, Shifting Roots has grown into a self-sustaining movement language that continues to carry the DNA of the José Limón philosophy.
Gravity, fall, recovery, and suspension of movement are inherent in AML, yet hand and arm gestures distinguish it from the Limón technique. These hand and arm gestures create infinite reactions from the body structure as it moves through space.
Each structural response to different arm movements, in turn, requires a strong, flexible, and generous plie to calibrate the correct response necessary for a good landing to the floor. The quality of the plie in response to any movement of the body – whether initiated by hand and arm gestures or not – determines the power, and dynamincs of the gesture. This momentum can be generated from a strong, flexible and generous plie.
In its response to whatever body movement comes falling to the floor, the quality of the plie gives the capability to transition to the next movement with confidence and assurance. This ongoing cycle of movement is punctuated by the “connective tissue” that is the dancer’s plie.
The final result of all this activity in the body is the freedom and power of the pelvis. By allowing the breath to flow throughout the entire body, an open inner environment is created. This gives the body structure the possibility to move freely and expressively. All this freedom exists only because the core of the body – the pelvis – has the strength and stability to allow all the parts of the structural system to work together in a coordinated and flowing effort.
Joe Alegado has been a member and soloist of the Ballet Hispanico of NYC, Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, and the José Limón Dance Company, performing worldwide in some of the most famous dance works in Modern dance repertory. He has taught extensively throughout Europe and the world, teaching and choreographing in diverse festivals, studios, institutions and dance companies.
He is one of the original faculty members of ImPulsTanz Workshops (formerly Wiener Tanzwochen). His work in over three decades of working in Europe has been reflected in his evolution here at the ImPulsTanz Festival. Even though his main focus is his teaching, his choreographic creations around Europe and beyond have served as a source of inspiration for a dance training methodology that uses the performance stage as a reference point to direct the flow, energy, and intent of the class process.
From the early years of teaching Limón Technique to the present fusion of his personal movement language, his work has metamorphosed from the unique expression of the fundamental principles of Limón’s work to create his own class methodology: SHIFTING ROOTS – Alegado Movement Language.
Excerpts from the Master’s Thesis by Joe Alegado:
A Trajectory in Dance – The Evolution of the Alegado Movement Language
Blanka Csasznyi studied at The Place – London Contemporary Dance School and the Budapest Contemporary Dance Academy, where she earned her master’s degree in dance pedagogy in 2020. She has been working with Joe Alegado since 2010. During these years, she has been assisting SHIFTING ROOTS – AML creations and classes in several countries worldwide. Among others, these included the ImPulsTanz Festival in Vienna, Jugnee Dance Festival in Mumbai, DAR Jazz festival in St. Petersburg.
The synergy of the collaboration between Joe and Blanka produced the present structural character of classes which inspired the need to distinguish Joe Alegado’s work from others. The result of this separation led to its current shape and nature as an independent movement methodology: SHIFTING ROOTS – Alegado Movement Language. Blanka gives workshops at several schools and institutions (Budapest Contemporary Dance Academy, Workshop Foundation Budapest, Várkert Bazár). For her dance pedagogical activities, she won the Viktor Fülöp Scholarship in 2021. Beyond that, Blanka also works as a freelance dancer and prepares performers for theater and movie productions.