Vertigo Dance Company was founded in 1992 by Noa Wertheim and Adi Sha’al as a two-person collaboration. Over the years, the Jerusalem-based company has become internationally celebrated not only for their artistic innovation but also for their unwavering commitment to the intersections of creativity, social responsibility, and ecological sustainability. The company will perform Vertigo 20, a work which revisits this fascinating group’s unique history and development over the past two decades.
Celebrity Series is pleased to offer an artist post-performance talk on Sunday, October 30, with Vertigo Dance Company co-founder and choreographer, Noa Wertheim. This 20-minute talk, moderated by Peter DiMuro of The Dance Complex, will be held in front of the stage immediately following the Sunday afternoon performance. DiMuro offers his perspective of the company ahead of its Boston debut below!
Vertigo Dance Company journeys from far-off Israel to join us for its Boston debut as part of Celebrity Series’ fall season, and it is likely we will journey far and deep into our senses while experiencing Vertigo 20, the major work they will perform for us.
Choreographer Noa Wertheim, in collaboration with the dancers, has created a culling of 20 years of embodied works of dance. The snippets of video highlighting Vertigo 20 reveal the best of what a dynamic institution of dance can provide: delicious, full, space-eating dance balanced by stillness; satisfying unison movement, risky partnering, elevating dancers airborne and earthily grounded.
The work’s production values are rich and metaphoric, with a walled-in stage that evokes a long-lived-in chamber. Could it be a sanctuary? A prison? How does this sense of place shift throughout the performance?
An architect introduced me to the idea of the “haptic sense,” which, in my version of it, places the sense of tactile-ness on steroids by adding kinesthetic awareness. We see movement outside ourselves, sense our own movement, and often physically empathize the movement we observe within our own bodies. The finest of architects create spaces that will engage the haptic sense of those who pass through its interiors. Nature, of course, does this on its own. I respond to the shifting lightning moving across the sky, or under the boughs of a weeping willow swaying in a breeze.
I think this ability to create a haptic experience can be—perhaps biasedly I believe it should be!—a pronounced domain of choreographers. This haptic sense, this sense of moving with the dancers, in and amongst the environs of the dance is in evidence with Vertigo 20, even on the flatness of the screen while viewing videos of Vertigo. The work promises a certain integrity to all our senses and all our wants of a dance work: dynamic movement that lives in space and time, crafted well to equal more than its individual parts and its ability to journey us to a new place once we have experienced it.
I so look forward to seeing this full work and hope you’ll join us for the post-show discussion.