Tag Archive | "White Noise"

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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


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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Remembering Big Performances at Suzanne Dellal’s Big Stage

Posted on 19 July 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Barak Marshall's "Monger"

Barak Marshall’s Monger.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

This summer has already been so packed with festivals and performances that I have barely had time to reflect, but I figured it’s high time that I post an article I wrote at the end of Suzanne Dellal’s Big Stage.

I’ve been to numerous festivals since moving to Israel, but the Big Stage stands head and shoulders above many others in my mind.  There was something magical about the festival’s outdoor setting, and each impressively large-scale performance brought its own theatrical marvels to the already enchanting space.  Further adding to my enthusiasm about the festival was the dual reason for its existence: Tel Aviv’s centennial and Suzanne Dellal’s 20th anniversary.  It’s pretty hard to top that!

I first published the article below as “Big Performances” in the Forward on June 19, 2009.  Read on to get a sense of what this spectacular festival was like – or to refresh your own memories of this momentous event.

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Big Performances

An eager crowd took its seats high above the Suzanne Dellal Center’s plaza for the opening of the three-week festival Habama Hagdola — The Big Stage.  Two majestic palm trees framed the large outdoor stage, and the center’s main building provided a picturesque backdrop.  A glance around revealed the impressive scenery of the first century of Tel Aviv: quaint red-roofed homes of the Neve Tzedek neighborhood overtaken within a few blocks by modern skyscrapers.

But it was the action onstage that captured the audience’s gaze.  Rooted in a wide stance, five women grabbed their heads and raised their arms in exasperation.  Rocking vigorously in place, they performed a series of intricate gestures. Even the smallest motion — a lift of the hip, a tilt of the chin — was delivered with attitude.  The movement grew, the pace quickened, and the tension built as five men approached the women.

This nuanced, lively dance — Barak Marshall’s Monger — was only part of the excitement onstage.  The popular band Balkan Beat Box lent its infectious rhythms and hypnotic vocals to the choreographic excerpts.  As the dance and live music mixed, Marshall recounted, “the energy on the stage was explosive and surprising.”

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Tel Aviv’s 100th + Suzanne Dellal’s 20th = The Big Stage

Posted on 13 May 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

The Big Stage at Suzanne Dellal

Photo of the Big Stage by Ariel Besor.

Something big is about to happen.  It’s the biggest cultural draw in town from May 14 until June 6th.  And fittingly, it’s titled Habama Hagdola: The Big Stage.

This isn’t the first time that the plaza of the Suzanne Dellal Center has been turned into a massive, open air theater.  The pictures in this post show a previous transformation from a few years ago.  But this time around, the construction of the Big Stage is marking something truly huge: the 100th anniversary of Tel Aviv and the 20th anniversary of the Suzanne Dellal Center, Israel’s premiere center for dance.

To celebrate both of these occasions, the Big Stage (sometimes translated as the Great Stage) will present some of Israel’s top dance companies and musical groups as well as world-renowned troupes from abroad.  The opening night combines both art forms in a special performance by Balkan Beat Box, with excerpts from Barak Marshall’s “Monger” that are set to music by the popular Israeli band.  As part of the festivities, Yair Vardi, Suzanne Dellal’s director, will receive an award from the Foreign Ministry for his contribution to the field of Israeli dance.

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