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Vertigo Dance Company: A Conversation with Choreographer Noa Wertheim

Posted on 25 May 2010 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Download the podcast (You can right-click the link and press “save as” to download the file to your computer.)

You can download the podcast file by clicking here (use right click and “save as”).

Adi Sha’al and Noa Wertheim of Vertigo Dance Company. Photo by Eyal Landesman.

(This podcast was initially produced for Israel Seen in 2008.  You can subscribe to this podcast using the iTunes software by clicking this link to the podcast feed.)

As I have traveled through Israel’s dance circles, I have run into Noa Wertheim and Adi Sha’al many times: at Vertigo Dance Company’s concerts at the Suzanne Dellal Center, at contact jams, and at a performance of Noa’s work on students from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance.  With their company, their school in Jerusalem, and their growing artist village on Kibbutz Netiv HaLamed-Hey, this dynamic couple is a powerful force in the Israeli contemporary dance scene.  They’re also revolutionary in their community-centered and environmentally-conscious approach to dance.


Video: Vertigo Dance Company’s Birth of the Phoenix

In this interview, held in the spring of 2008, Noa talks about raising a family while directing a company, building the Eco-Art Village, choreographing the site-specific environmental dance Birth of the Phoenix, and engaging in “tikkun olam” – healing the world – through her work.


Noa Wertheim’s White Noise. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

When we spoke two years ago, Noa was mounting her White Noise, and in the fall of 2009, she premiered her Mana at the Curtain Up Festival.  Along with her iconic Birth of the Phoenix, these two works are now being performed by Vertigo at the Israel Festival in Jerusalem.

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*This post was made possible thanks to a Fulbright student grant funded by the U.S.-Israel Educational Foundation and hosted by the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance.

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Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak: An Interview on Imagination (Podcast)

Posted on 09 November 2008 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Download the podcast (You can right-click the link and press “save as” to download the file to your computer.)

Right click to download the podcast at this link

Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak’s Shaker completes its U.S. tour at New York City’s Joyce Theater this week.  Photo by Eyal Landesman.

This is the first in a series of podcasted interviews with dance professionals in Israel.

You can listen via the player embedded in this post or subscribe to this podcast for free by visiting our podcast feed and using the iTunes software ((You can subscribe to the podcast feed by searching the iTunes directory for “Dance In Israel”)). This podcast was initially produced for Israel Seen, and the text below was written for The Winger.

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The very first work I saw at the Suzanne Dellal Center last year was Shaker, by Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak.  Despite my jet lag, I realized that Inbal and Avshalom’s visually stunning work was special – and when I later saw the Inbal Pinto Dance Company in Oyster (twice!) and Hydra, I knew that my initial assessment of these creators was correct.  Want more proof of this couple’s exceptional talent and ability to win over audiences with their artistry?  Several hundred performances after its premiere, Oyster still fills the house at Suzanne Dellal, and the Israel Festival had to add a third performance of Hydra this June because of the demand for tickets.


Avshalom Pollak and Inbal Pinto.  Photo by Asaf Ashkenazyn.

In between rehearsals for their new production and tours of their existing repertory, I caught up with Inbal and Avshalom in the spring of 2008 to learn how this imaginative couple concocts such unique creations.   You can learn more too if you tune in to our podcast!

For more pictures, videos, and links, read the rest of my post below:

Continue Reading

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Close Encounters Series: Yasmeen Godder

Posted on 03 November 2008 by Deborah Friedes Galili


Yasmeen Godder’s Singular Sensation will be performed in New Haven, CT as part of Yale University’s World Performance Project Festival on November 11-12. Photo by Tamar Lamm.  See our Events page for the listing.

Throughout my time in Israel, I have had the privilege of speaking with a number of choreographers and dancers about their art.  Here on Dance In Israel, I will be sharing these conversations with you in a series of “Close Encounters” articles and in a series of podcasted audio interviews.  This “Close Encounters” article on Yasmeen Godder was first published on The Winger in June of 2008.

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Yasmeen Godder. Photo by Natan Dvir.

If you’re part of the New York dance scene, you’ve probably stepped through some of the same doors as Yasmeen Godder. Born in Israel and raised in Jerusalem until age 11, Yasmeen moved to the U.S. with her family, attended the High School of the Performing Arts in New York City, studied at Movement Research and the Klein School, and received her undergraduate degree from NYU’s Tisch School. The Kitchen, DTW, and Dancing in the Streets have all commissioned work from her, and she was awarded a Bessie in 2001 for I Feel Funny Today.

If you’re part of the Israeli dance scene, you’ve undoubtedly felt Yasmeen’s influence and quite possibly crossed paths with her. I had heard of Yasmeen prior to arriving in Israel because of her activities in the U.S. and the acclaim which has greeted her works both in the states and Europe, and as soon as I arrived in Israel, I began to realize the impact she has made in her home country. Her name frequently came up in conversations about both choreographers and teachers, and many people urged me to see her work and take her class. So it was that I ventured down to Yafo (Jaffa) to take technique at her studio, attended a performance there of Sudden Birds (see the video below), and went to a performance of I’m Mean, I Am at the Suzanne Dellal Center.

Months later, I’m not surprised that I heard so much buzz about Yasmeen. I found Yasmeen’s classes to be quite challenging and enormously helpful in their specificity, especially as I attempt to widen my body’s range and move with less muscular effort. She welcomes students’ reflections in class and presents her own ideas with clarity and details that enable me to adjust my mindset and body to a more unfamiliar technical framework.

I also found Yasmeen’s choreography to be as challenging as her classes, and refreshingly so. Continue Reading

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