Birth of the Phoenix: an extraordinary experience. Merav Youdilevich

The new work composed by choreographer Noa Wertheim for the Vertigo Dance Company of Jerusalem had its premiere yesterday evening at the Karmiel Dance Festival.

Within the bamboo frame of a geodesic dome constructed in lush greenery, a lyric ceremony took place, wholly based on experiencing nature. Dancers were dancing on a circular surface of earth, and the audience surrounded them on all sides, sitting on wooden stools or on the ground. Weather, changes in lighting from day to night, and external rustling, presented the dancers of the Vertigo Dance Company with not an inconsiderable challenge. The audience, too, might be distracted now and then from the action on stage.

Wertheim’s point of departure in Birth of the Phoenix is the brown, sandy earth. A dancer scuttling on the ground sprouts and separates from it and then scatters in space. Alongside elements derived from the languages of Tai Chi and contact improvisation, Wertheim succeeds, with curved and fluid motion, in combining physicality and spirituality. Excellent Alex Shmurak makes her entrance to the ring with a movement that is expansive and confident. A whistle of wind is heard from time to time. A dripping drop is sometimes audible. Earth, wind, water and fire – all these elements are present in the original and eclectic music composed by Ran Bagno.
The dancers of Vertigo are used to the challenges presented to them regularly by Wertheim, and here, besides coping with natural surroundings and proximity to the audience, they are dancing on the bare earth. The result is astounding. Birth of the Phoenix is unique, rich and evolving. An extraordinary experience


(15:02, 14 JULY 2004)