Excitement shimmered in the Jerusalem twilight as crowds gathered last night outside the Jerusalem Theatre to see the Vertigo Dance Company perform the Birth of the Phoenix as part of the Israel Festival 2010 tribute to Vertigo. Choreographer Noa Wertheim dares to take dance to an intimate encounter with nature and community. The dancers perform in a circle of earth within a bamboo geodesic dome, bringing the audience close to the dance, sitting on the ground in a circle, almost close enough to touch. The traditional performer-audience relationship takes place at a distance, in the dark. Free and open to the public, last night’s performance was a gift, inviting any and all to experience the celebration that is the Birth of the Phoenix in all its joy, solemnity, and physical energy.
Extending the boundaries of relationship with the audience, last night’s performance was illuminated by a sense of community. These photographs by Shmuel Browns convey the power and intensity of the experience shared by all. Nature lover and tour guide, Browns has seen the company perform its most recent work Mana, and visited the Vertigo Eco-Arts Village at Kibbutz Netiv HaLamed Heh several times. In a conversation this morning, Browns said that when the performance was over, the audience spontaneously approached the inner circle, saying, “They wanted to touch the earth and move on the stage. It was powerful…sitting so close; you feel you’re really part of it.”
Sharing his photographs with Midnight East, Browns lets us become part of the experience, with the sensitivity and vibrancy of his images. Enjoy!
Shmuel Browns takes the opportunity to photograph Israel whenever he has the chance. For good nature photographs you have to have a good eye but you also have to be able to find the location and right vantage point from which to shoot. As a tour guide Shmuel travels throughout the country and knows it well. It’s is a different challenge to capture dance, especially at night, out of doors because the lens and combination of aperture and shutter speed records the scene in its unique way, different from the human eye.
Enjoy more of Shmuel’s writing and photographs on his website.
Image credit: All images © 2010 by Shmuel Browns