Israel Festival Tribute to Vertigo Dance Company

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Mana/Photo: Gadi Dagon

Conjuring movement from the darkness, a man dances in a circle of light. Black robes flying with the power of his gestures, each movement expresses a symbolic force that extends beyond the body, beyond the individual, reaching out into the depth of time and memory to create a new world. Yet he is not alone. There is another figure in the darkness, kneeling with his back to the audience, watching the solitary dancer. He rises and the two men begin to move together in an energetic, enigmatic dance. When they reach out a hand to touch one another, it is like a reminder that the hand is directly connected to the heart.

This is the beginning of Mana, choreographer Noa Wertheim’s most recent work. It is the third in a trilogy of works which will be performed in Jerusalem as the Israel Festival 2010 honors the Vertigo Dance Company with a special tribute.

The creative tension between self and other, individual and community, inner and outer forces, physical and spiritual, is a central motif in all three works: Birth of the Phoenix (2004), White Noise (2008), and Mana (2009). Yet in Mana the movement flows from a deeper source, as if Wertheim has connected to an ancient wellspring: the spiritual origins of dance.

Born of the earth, yearning to fly, Wertheim’s works are a dialogue of conflict and unity, expressed in a physical language of energy and beauty. It is a dance that embraces risk and contradiction, open to experience and impulse, inspired by an artistic vision committed to a process of searching and exploring. 

In Birth of the Phoenix the dancers are dancing with the earth in a geodesic dome of bamboo. Exploring the relationship to the environment thematically in the work and through the use of an alternative space, the dance is performed outdoors on a circle of red earth within the dome, the audience gathered around the dancers. Relating to the earth, sky and each other, the dancers in their red garments create a sense of ritual, recreating the myth of the phoenix, dying and reborn in this sensual work.

If Birth of the Phoenix evokes a mythic past, White Noise immerses us in the digital age of information with monitors flashing images, non-stop action and noise. The Vertigo dancers are all strong individuals, their compelling presence expresses the tension of the conflict between the inner voice and the constant pressure of outer forces. When they move together as a group, the intensity is tremendous.

Founded in 1992 by Noa Wertheim and Adi Sha’al, the Vertigo Dance Company has found artistic partners in composer Ran Bagno, costume and set designer Rakefet Levy and lighting designer Dani Fishof. The ongoing creative dialogue can be seen in this body of work whose elements complement and enhance on another. Relationships are at the center of every aspect of the company, onstage, in the studio, and at the Vertigo Eco-Arts Village where they work to build a sustainable community in harmony with the environment.

Mana will be performed Friday, May 21 at 22:00 at Suzanne Dellal. Tickets: 03- 5105656

Israel Festival Performances
Jerusalem Theatre, 20 David Marcus Street, Jerusalem

Birth of the Phoenix
May 25th and 26th at 20:30, The Sherover Plaza, FREE

White Noise
May 28th at 15:00, Rebecca Crown Auditorium

Mana
May 29th at 21:00, Rebecca Crown Auditorium

Tickets: https://www.tickets-online.co.il/IsraelFestival/, 1-700-70-20-15

AYELET DEKEL

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