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International Exposure 2010: Video Preview

Posted on 05 December 2010 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Nir Ben-Gal and Liat Dror’s Terminal B. Photo by Naama Nada.

Even though December has started and the shelves of Tel Aviv’s bakeries are lined with sufganiot, the jelly donuts traditionally eaten during Hanukkah, many of Tel Aviv’s residents are still walking around in tank tops and sandals. Unusually hot days and sunny skies have made it easy for the masses to pretend that summer never ended. But for those of us who follow the dance field, there is no denying that the calendar year is coming to a close. The tip-off is in the posters and fliers on display at Suzanne Dellal as well as the press releases and invitations received via e-mail, all announcing the arrival of the annual showcase of Israeli dance: International Exposure.

Nimrod Freed’s Flash.  Photo by Itamar Freed.

The exact shape and scope of International Exposure have shifted since its first incarnation sixteen years ago. For many years in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it operated in conjunction with Curtain Up, the country’s premiere platform for new works by independent choreographers. The festival has stretched over a varying number of days and welcomed crowds both intimate and large. But throughout, the goal has remained the same: to display the wealth of works premiered over the past year to foreign arts presenters, dignitaries, and journalists in the hopes of sending Israeli dance around the world.

Orly Portal’s Gnawia

International Exposure 2010 will run from Wednesday, December 8 through Sunday, December 12, and the schedule features an enticing array of established companies and independent choreographers. Most of the programs will take place at the Suzanne Dellal Centre, but a number of concerts and informal showings will take place at other performance venues and studios. And while some of the events are offered only to the festival’s guests, many of the shows are open to the public.  Below is a guide to the events that are accessible to local dance lovers (and a sneak peek at International Exposure for those of you who are not in town).  All shows are at Suzanne Dellal unless otherwise noted.

Wednesday, December 8

Video: Ohad Naharin’s Kyr/Zina

International Exposure starts out with the Batsheva Ensemble, the Batsheva Dance Company’s junior division, performing Ohad Naharin’s Kyr/Zina at 20:00.

Thursday, December 9

Rami Be’er’s Transform. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

International Exposure’s first full day kicks off at 11:00 with the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company in Rami Be’er’s new Transform, which premiered during the international Tel Aviv Dance festival this past fall.

Curtain Up 2010 will be represented by three separate bills shown at 16:00, 19:00, and 22:30.

Video: Tamar Borer and Tamara Erde’s Ana

Thursday’s offerings also include a performance of Tamar Borer and Tamara Erde’s latest collaboration, Ana, at 20:30.

Friday, December 10

Friday’s programming includes a fair amount of moving about to different theaters in the area.

Video: The Project in Jacopo Godani’s Light Years.

At 14:00, The Project – a joint initiative by the Suzanne Dellal Centre and the Israeli Opera – will present a mixed bill at the Opera House in the heart of Tel Aviv.   The program includes Emanuel Gat’s Through the Center, Jacopo Godani’s Light Years, and Marco Goeke’s Supernova.

Video: Vertigo in Mana

Vertigo Dance Company presents a hit from last year, Mana, at the Givatayim Theater at 17:00.  Choreographed by Noa Wertheim, Mana premiered during the twentieth anniversary of the Curtain Up festival.

Video: Maria Kong in Miss Brazil

Maria Kong reprises its program from the Tel Aviv Dance festival, Miss Brazil, at 21:00 at Suzanne Dellal. The company’s four founders – Anderson Braz, Talia Landa, Leo Lerus, and Ya’ara Moses – collaborated on the first half of the bill, Miss, while guest choreographer Idan Cohen contributed the second half, Brazil.

Saturday, December 11

Saturday is primarily a day of mixed bills, titled Exposures, that feature both shorter dances in their entirety alongside excerpts from full-evening works.

Video: Yoram Karmi’s Particle Accelerator

Exposure 1, at 11:00, features Fresco Dance Group in an excerpt from the evening-length Particle Accelerator.  The bill is rounded out by Rachel Erdos’s OU’.

Video: Rachel Erdos’s OU’

Odelya Kuperberg’s Tzitzushka.

At 13:00, Exposure 2 will include Odelya Kuperberg’s Tzitzushka and a new work from Idan Sharabi.

Video: Liat Dror’s Terminal B

Nir Ben-Gal and Liat Dror bring their company from Mizpe Ramon to show Dror’s Terminal B at 14:00. 

Video: Mami Shimazaki’s Loop People

At 15:00, Mami Shimizaki’s Loop People shares the bill with Orly Portal’s Gnawia in Exposure 3.

Video: Kamea Dance Company in Tamir Ginz’s Srul

The day finishes at 22:30 with Exposure 4, featuring Kamea Dance Company in an excerpt from Tamir Ginz’s Srul along with Nimrod Freed’s Flash.

Sunday, December 12

Video: Sharon Eyal’s Bill

After a whirlwind of performances, International Exposure 2010 closes with Batsheva Dance Company in Sharon Eyal’s Bill.

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More About Vertigo Dance Company & the Eco-Art Village

Posted on 24 July 2010 by Deborah Friedes Galili


Vertigo Dance Company in Noa Wertheim’s Mana. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

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.

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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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Israel Festival 2010

Posted on 22 May 2010 by Deborah Friedes Galili

ISRAEL FESTIVAL 2010 from ISRAEL FESTIVAL on Vimeo.

Video: Preview of the Israel Festival 2010

As mid-May turns into late May here in Israel, spring is in full bloom.  The sun is now everpresent, no longer occasionally blocked by clouds, and the days grow hotter.  Rain showers are replaced by trickles of tourist groups, portending the forthcoming wave of summer visitors.  And in Jerusalem, the Israel Festival opens, providing the season’s freshest programming in theater, music, and dance.

The Israel Festival traditionally mixes some of the top names from the international arts scene with local favorites, and this year is no exception.  The 2010 dance line-up promises a particularly diverse array of renowned artists hailing from around the world.  Tangokinesis, based in Buenos Aires, brings a tantalizing mix of Argentinean tango and modern dance to Nuevo Tango. Shen Wei Dance Arts will arrive in Jerusalem from its home in New York, but the Chinese-born Wei’s style is infused with elements of Chinese opera, and his work Re is colored by his travels in Tibet, Cambodia, and China. British choreographer Akram Khan is known for blending Indian kathak dance with more modern movement, and his Gnosis is inspired by the Hindu Mahabharata. And the masterful Bill T. Jones will take on American history in Serenade/The Proposition, which incorporates striking video art along with the choreographer’s signature contemporary vocabulary.


Video: Bill T. Jones’s Serenade/The Proposition

Joining these visiting troupes on the festival’s stage is a hometown favorite, Vertigo Dance Company, which maintains a studio in Jerusalem as well as an innovative Eco-Art Village on nearby Kibbutz Netiv HaLamed-Hey. Vertigo will kick off the festival with two free shows of Noa Wertheim’s landmark environmental work, Birth of the Phoenix, before performing Wertheim’s White Noise and her most recent dance, Mana.

Vertigo Dance Company in Noa Wertheim’s Mana. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

The 2010 Israel Festival runs from May 25 until June 11.

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Vertigo Dance Company in Noa Wertheim’s “Mana”

Posted on 29 January 2010 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Video: Vertigo in Noa Wertheim’s Mana

Another guest at International Exposure 2009, Talia Baruch, covers the San Francisco-area dance scene for her blog GoSee– Dance. She wrote some reviews of dances she saw here in Israel in December for her website and is generously sharing them here on Dance In Israel.

Talia’s second guest article is about Noa Wertheim’s Mana, which premiered as part of Curtain Up’s 20th anniversary and was a hit with the audience at International Exposure.  Read on to hear Talia’s take on this captivating work.

* * *

International Exposure 2009—Suzanne Dellal Dance Center | Vertigo Dance Company

By Talia Baruch

MANA
Vessel of Light

Choreography & Artistic Director: Noa Wertheim | Co-Artistic Director: Adi Sha’al | Music: Ran Bagno | Percussion: Dani Makov | Stage & Costume Design: Rakefet Levy | Lighting Design: Dani Fishof | Still photography: Gadi Dagon | Review & Copywriting: Talia Baruch

Mana dances the tension between container and contained, exterior and interior, whole and hollow.

And what is installed first, vessel or light?
Does the Sun rise to fill in the absence of Moonlight, or rather is it the lack of Moonlight that creates the inspiration of its vessel, container of light?
(Based on the Zohar)

Noa Wertheim’s Mana. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Noa Wertheim’s Mana. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

This timeless tale follows the flow in black and white, with few specks of ruddy-warm.  The bewitching-dark night stands in still, mystical contrast to the milky-white house, symmetrically centered in its simple stable form on stage.

Geometric shapes will now act out the dialogue between feminine and masculine, draw the drama between the forces of life that forever struggle to compliment each other:

Feminine: circular, soft black balloon, hanging like a full moon, up above the house

Masculine: pointy, sharp angular triangular roof, edgy rectangular door, protruding

Feminine: curve and crave in sensual, spiral hip-stirred movements

Masculine: stride, high-strung, across the stage in “connect-the-dot”-like linear routes

Noa Wertheim’s Mana. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Both forces aspire to escape the hollow and reach the whole in this quest to be holistically contained and content. The visual image interlaced throughout the show is of a black balloon attached to a dancer, pulling her up, tall, stretching out for perfection, her white legs long and strong, trotting like a royal horse in a parade.

Noa Wertheim’s Mana. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

At first glance, the fully dressed, almost orthodox, costumes communicate a puritan, reserved modesty.  But quite quickly, a bare foot peeking under heavy garment, an escaping white shoulder, a curving contour, a tight waistline, a hip, lend to a sensual, lustful, communication.  The free-fall back bends and suicidal leaps shatter the quiet, restrained recital.

Noa Wertheim’s Mana. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

The music drapes the dancers like a fitted gown, in sync, in tune. I play the soundtrack CD over and over and give in to the lyric mood quietly setting in.  Ran Bagno, who has been working hand in hand with Vertigo’s mom and pap (Noa and Adi), wrote the score and played all the instruments, except for percussion, tapped by Dani Makov.  I sit with Bagno over cappuccino on a sunny winter day in down town Tel Aviv and ask him about the creative process of piecing music for this show. “Unlike some other dances, Mana isn’t a collage of fragmented scenes,” he says, “rather, it’s composed as a single, comprehensive piece. When Noa came out with the idea of a ‘vessel holding light’ I struggled to find just the right musical instrument to fit in…until I stumbled over my kid’s old, abandoned guitar. Something about its virgin, broken, acoustic sound was perfect for infusing the muse.”

Noa Wertheim’s Mana. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Watching the fluid flow of movement on stage, I’m reminded of Alexander Calder’s art — capturing compound sketches in one single line stroke.  The expression captured in Mana carries the visual aesthetics of calligraphy: fine brush, dipped in black ink, forms a black blotch over snow white paper.  Then, in a single skilled hand, it drifts, pulling up tall, lying low, and spiraling all the way through.

Noa Wertheim’s Mana. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Vertigo Dance Company founded the pea-green Eco Art Village, where they live and create in a little utopian planet of clean air and fresh manure: http://www.eco-artvillage.org/index_eng.asp. This might explain why their work is genuinely untainted, raw and earthly.

Talia Baruch is a writer and translator covering the dance/theater scene in San Francisco, where she has been living for the past 11 years. She is the founder of Copyous, providing creative copywriting and Localization Strategies. The ingredients that shaped her life are the explosive dance scene in urban Tel Aviv, where she grew up, the pea-green English country side, where she inhaled a handsome amount of fresh-manure & horseback-countered through endless woods, and the 24/7 Localization/Internationalization business bustle, that put perspective to it all. www.copyous.com

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