With a studio in Jerusalem rather than Tel Aviv and another home base in the form of an Eco-Art Village on Kibbutz Netiv HaLamed-Hey, Vertigo Dance Company is certainly far from ordinary. But what makes Vertigo even more of a standout is the exceptional artistry and socially conscious vision of its artistic directors, Noa Wertheim and Adi Sha’al.
From the very start, the couple’s striking choreography made an impression on the local dance scene. The pair’s first duet, Vertigo, drew not only from Sha’al’s own experience in the air force but also considered the feeling of dizziness within the context of personal relationships; the work garnered them the 1992 On the Way to London award from the British Council. The following year, their multimedia duet Contact Lenses won the first prize in the prestigious Shades of Dance festival for emerging choreographers.
As Wertheim and Sha’al expanded the ensemble of their Vertigo Dance Company, they became known for making daringly athletic work that explored deeply human issues. The company’s repertory also shattered the conventions of traditional concert dance. The Power of Balance (2001), a collaboration with British choreographer Adam Benjamin, integrated the group’s regular roster of dancers with disabled dancers. Placing mankind’s relationship to the environment at its core, Birth of the Phoenix (2004) abandoned the theater for the outdoors, with the dancers performing on a dirt ground under a geodesic dome.
In June, Vertigo performed a trilogy of recent works – the iconic Birth of the Phoenix, the supremely energetic White Noise (2008), and the magnificent Mana (2009) – at the Israel Festival in Jerusalem. Now the company is bringing these three stellar dances to the Suzanne Dellal Center as part of the SummerDance 2010 festival with performances running from August 2 to August 4. As a bonus, the performance of White Noise on June 3 will be followed by a meeting with the artists.
Want to learn more about this unique group? Here are several videos with footage of interviews at the Eco-Art Village and the dances from the trilogy as well as Vertigo and Noa Wertheim’s appearance at the TedxTelAviv event.
Below is a video about Vertigo Dance Company’s Eco-Art Village, with brief clips primarily of Noa Wertheim’s Birth of the Phoenix.
In this next video, artistic directors Noa Wertheim and Adi Sha’al as well as some of Vertigo’s dancers talk about working in the Eco-Art Village. Many of the dance excerpts are from Wertheim’s White Noise.
Vertigo and Noa Wertheim were part of TedxTelAviv, which was held on April 26, 2010 at the Jaffa port. The video below includes an excerpt from White Noise, followed by Wertheim discussing her move to the Eco-Art Village and her philosophy. The video closes with an excerpt of Mana.
Related Articles on Dance In Israel
- Vertigo Dance Company: Art, Environment, Community
- Curtain Up 2: Vertigo Dance Company and Noa Wertheim Host Elad Shechter
- Vertigo Dance Company in Noa Wertheim’s Mana
- Vertigo Dance Company: A Conversation with Choreographer Noa Wertheim