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New Commission from Aleksandra Vrebalov

Updating José Limón's "The Exiles" (1950) with new music from Aleksandra Vrebalov to give it a more urgent contemporary feel

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Aleksandra Vrebalov’s “The Exiles”

Posted on July 11, 2017 by José Limón Dance Foundation, Inc.

Aleksandra Vrebalov’s new commission premiered during our season at The Joyce Theater May 2-7, 2017. The composition was performed live by singers onstage with the two dancers. In addition to this iteration with new music, some evenings featured the work as originally presented. Many audience members in fact preferred the new version, citing Vrebalov’s visceral score as the reason. Please give the composition a listen in the embedded link!


Premiering in 1950, The Exiles portrays Adam and Eve after the fall. José Limón reveals in a program note that “This piece of choreography was inspired by and dedicated to those desolate ones who remember some lost paradise, or serenity, or innocence, or homeland.” This tale of refugees remains viscerally relevant in today’s world. As it was conceived, The Exiles is danced to Arnold Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony no. 2, op. 38.

Nearly seventy years later, Artistic Director Colin Connor envisions new music that echoes and references the Schoenberg, but also updates the whole work and gives it a more urgent contemporary feel. Mr. Connor has selected esteemed Yugoslavian composer Aleksandra Vrebalov to create the new music for The Exiles. A composer of more than 70 works ranging from concert music and opera to music for dance and film, Vrebalov is the recipient of numerous awards and has completed many residencies and collaborations.  She has previously collaborated on music for dance with Dusan Tyneck Dance Theatre, Festival Ballet of Providence, and Rambert Dance. Vrebalov creates work that is passionate, compelling, and structurally complex, using varied traditional and classical sources for tonalities and rhythms in a way that engages contemporary ears.

Ms. Vrebalov plans on transposing the music for a string quartet and eight vocalists. These musicians, not to mention their time and dedication, are essential to the success of our season. Live music encourages the dancers to soar to greater heights, and moves the audience more deeply than recorded music. The new work will be performed live during the Limón Dance Company’s season May 2-7, 2017 at The Joyce Theater in New York City. Additionally, we plan on recording the music to enable the Company to tour with the work.

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New York, New York

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Last update on July 11, 2017

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Founded in 1946 by avant-garde modern dance choreographer José Limón, the José Limón Dance Foundation sets the standard of excellence among the dance field in terms of artistry, educational service, community engagement, and historic cultural preservation. Its robust roster of artistic and educational services encompass dance training, professional development, creative incubation, performance, and social action.…

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