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Limón Dance Company presents Women’s Stories featuring the World Premiere of I Must Be Circumstanced, Hilla Ben Ari’s reimagination of Limón’s The Moor’s Pavane

December 7, 2023 - December 9, 2023

Limón Dance Company (LDC) presents Women’s Stories from Thu-Sat, Dec 7-9, 2023 at 8pm at New York Live Arts, 219 W. 19th Street, NYC. Tickets are $45 ($25 for students and seniors) and are available at https://newyorklivearts.org/event/womens-stories/.

For three nights only, the Limón Dance Company offers Women’s Stories, a program that centers the female perspective and highlights the women who shaped the company’s canon. The night includes the World Premiere of I Must Be Circumstanced, Hilla Ben Ari’s reimagination of Limón’s The Moor’s Pavane, a startling new take on a classic, incorporates arresting video projections and focuses exclusively on the female characters of Othello. Featuring all female casts, the program shares some of José Limon’s most acclaimed works: Orfeo, Dances for Isadora, as well as an excerpt from The Winged. José Limón Dance Foundation dedicates these performances in honor of former Limón dancer, the late Jennifer Muller.

Dancers: Natalie Clevenger, Mariah Gravelin, Deepa Liegel, Frances Samson, Savannah Spratt, Jessica Sgambelluri and Lauren Twomley.

​​Hilla Ben Ari’s I Must Be Circumstanced (World Premiere)
The intergenerational conversation across disciplines characterizes Hilla Ben Ari’s latest projects, where she corresponded with the works of artists that were active in a variety of fields such as theatre and dance. In a new project that generates a dialogue with one of the most known works by Limón, The Moor’s Pavane (1949), Ben Ari fuses visual art and dance, stillness and motion, in order to challenge and rethink the female body within cultural narratives. Limón’s original creation tells the story of Shakespeare’s tragic Othello through a pavane, a processional dance of the 16th- and 17th-century European aristocracy. Similar to Shakespeare’s play, Limón’s piece is told primarily from the perspective of male characters. But here, the work will focus on Emilia and Desdemona, and following the original structure of Limón’s quartet, Ben Ari adds two additional characters through recorded video projections. Each of the live dancers on stage will be mirrored and reflected through the figures that appear in video, giving audiences two Desdemonas and two Emilias. Partial support for this work is provided by Artis as well as the New York State Council on the Arts.

One of the last works Limón choreographed in tribute to his late wife Pauline Lawrence Limón, Orfeo dances his lyrical lament of love and loss, calling his beloved Eurydice from the dead. Swathed in veils and protected by her Guardians, she comes and their duet of the love of the souls ensues. The reality of death comes and Eurydice returns to Hades leaving Orfeo once again with his tortuous doubts and hopes. This program will feature a female casting redefining who tells this story of love and loss.

Emotionally and musically rich, Dances for Isadora is a moving tribute to Isabora Duncan and a celebration of the power of women dancing, and of America’s dance legacy. Lushly musical with the Chopin piano music, this wonderfully diverse set of five solos evoke aspects and periods of the life of Isadora Duncan whom Limón regarded as his “dance mother.”

Choreographed by Limón in 1966, The Winged transports audiences to a world of nature that blends with the world of man through movement that resembles the intricate patterns and rhythms of birds in flight. The evening will open with the evocative excerpt, Feast of Harpies.

“The Winged is a marvelous work, both spacious and delicate – a distillation of what it means to float, to flutter, to soar.” – P.W. Manchester, Christian Science Monitor, London, CT August 26, 1966

HILLA BEN ARI is a multidisciplinary artist based in Tel Aviv. Her work spans a variety of media such as video, installation, sculpture, and print. The female body as a crossroads of political, social and cultural contexts is at the core of her work. Her video works have been presented in international festivals including Videonale 12 at the Bonn Museum of Art, and the 18th Japan Media Arts Festival at the National Art Center, Tokyo. Her works are part of the collections of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; the Tel Aviv Museum of Art; the Petach Tikva Museum of Art, the Bundestag, Berlin, and other public and private collections. http://www.hillabenari.com/

JOSÉ LIMÓN (Founder/Choreographer, 1908-1972) electrified the world with his dynamic masculine dancing and dramatic choreography. One of the 20th century’s most important and influential dance makers, he spent his career pioneering a new art form and fighting for its recognition. Born in Culiacán, Mexico in 1908, he moved to California in 1915, and in 1928 came to New York where he saw his first dance program. Limón enrolled in Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman’s dance school and performed in several of their works from 1930 to 1940. In 1946, with Doris Humphrey as Artistic Director, Limón formed his own company. Over the next 25 years, he established himself and his company as a major force of 20th century dance. Limón created a total of 74 works, including The Moor’s Pavane, Concerto Grosso, and Missa Brevis.

Founded in 1946 by José Limón and Doris Humphrey, the Limón Dance Company (LDC) has been at the vanguard of American Modern dance since its inception and is considered one of the world’s greatest dance companies. Choreographer and dancer José Limón is credited with creating one of the world’s most important and enduring dance legacies— an art form responsible for the creation, growth and support of modern dance in this country. Acclaimed for its dramatic expression, technical mastery and expansive, yet nuanced movement, the Limón Dance Company illustrates the timelessness of José Limón’s work and vision. The Company’s repertory, which includes classic works in addition to new commissions from contemporary choreographers, possesses an unparalleled breadth and creates unique experiences for audiences around the world.

Located in the heart of Chelsea in New York City, we acknowledge that New York Live Arts is located on the ancestral homeland of the Lenape people in New York City. We acknowledge and pay respect to the Lenape people and to all Indigenous people past, present and future, here and everywhere. New York Live Arts is an internationally recognized destination for innovative movement-based artistry offering audiences access to art and artists notable for their conceptual rigor, formal experimentation and active engagement with the social, political and cultural currents of our times. At the center of this identity is Bill T. Jones, Artistic Director, a world-renowned choreographer, dancer, theater director and writer. New York Live Arts commissions, produces and presents performances in our 20,000 square foot home, which includes a 184-seat theater and two 1,200 square foot studios that can be combined into one large studio. New York Live Arts serves as home base for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, provides an extensive range of participatory programs for adults and young people and supports the continuing professional development of artists.


December 7, 2023
December 9, 2023