Ten years ago, when Noa Wertheim and the cast of Vertigo Dance Company created White Noise, most of us had yet to open a Facebook account, let along Snapchat, Instagram, Tinder or any of the dozens of other social media apps that are currently available to us. Although 2008 was far from being the Dark Ages, Wertheim’s concept of the buzz of sound and distractions surrounding each person was framed by the state of the society she lived in. In many ways, Wertheim’s piece predicted the future, or at least it touched on elements that would soon receive far more weight in everyday life. The 2018 version of White Noise, which Vertigo will unveil this month in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, brings Wertheim’s chaotic premonition to a new level.
Since establishing the company in 1992, together with her life partner Adi Sha’al, Wertheim has used her personal experiences as a resource for her creations. In 2008, the company was in the midst of a major transition, one that would color the coming years of activities and would stake Vertigo’s claim as a dance company with a clear agenda. The company began to divide its time between two locations – its home base in the Gerard Behar Center in Jerusalem and an ecologically sound structure in the village Netiv Halamed Hay. This move brought Wertheim closer to what she felt she needed in her life and provided a new boost to her creative work.Around the same time as the move began to take shape, Wertheim read Kalle Lasn’s book Culture Jam: How to Reverse America’s Suicidal Consumer Binge — And Why We Must. Written by the founder of Adbusters magazine, the book provides an in-depth look at the American commercial environment. For Wertheim, Lasn’s analysis hit home. “The modern world creates phenomena of noises that penetrate the perimeter of the body and offset the thinking systems and breathing rhythms. Without even noticing, we are offering ourselves up as sacrifices to the altar of commercial culture. Man has made himself into a brand, treats his body and spirit as a brand. None of this makes us happier, it disturbs our regular breathing. I understood that I had to block out the noise, to redirect the frequencies, to go inwards, to return to the roots, to the earth, to give in to gravity. What was born from that turned into my most physical creation,” writes Wertheim.For the 10-year anniversary/ renewal of White Noise, Vertigo joined forces with Zohar Sharon and Roy Oppenheim of The Revolution Orchestra, who will perform the original score by Ran Bagno on stage. In addition, the score will be bolstered by new compositions by Orit Gurel. Another refurbishment to the production are new costumes designed by Israeli fashion icon Sasson Kedem, a longtime Vertigo collaborator.The piece maintains its iconic esthetic, which includes bar code tattoos on the backs of the dancers, an elementary school-esque set, and captivating video and lighting effects. All this serves as a backdrop for perhaps the finest example of Wertheim’s choreographic style, which is built on fluid transitions in and out of the stage, harmonious yet virtuoso partnering and an everdynamic pace.‘White Noise 2018’ will be performed on January 19 and 20 at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center (www.israel-opera.co.il); January 25 and 26 at the Jerusalem Theatre (www.jerusalem-theater.co.il). For more information about Vertigo Dance Company, visit www.vertigo.org.il.
White Noise by Vertigo Dance Company (Credit: Youtube/vertigo)