There is a common belief among artists that a truly successful creation will change your life. By this measurement, the duet “Vertigo” by Noa Wertheim and Adi Sha’al was a massively winning creation in that it did not only change the lives of the creators, but of everyone who came into contact with the work and the artists since.
In fact, that first duet, “Vertigo,” performed 30 years ago at the Suzanne Dellal Center, bore the core elements of the mission with which Wertheim and Sha’al went out into the world. Next week, the Vertigo Dance Company will celebrate three decades of activity, in a three-day event dedicated to the pillars of their practice.
“There are the three chapters: Art, Human, Nature. Those are our ethos, principles, that through them we look at everything,” explains Sha’al in a phone interview.
Each of the three days of Vertigo's celebrations will be dedicated to one of the pillars, Sha’al continues. “The first day is devoted to Nature. We will bring Birth of the Phoenix, the piece that began our journey with the environment. Then there will be a performance called ‘Batzir’ by our students from our professional dance program. That will be followed by a dance party with a DJ.
“The second day is about Art. On that day, Noa will teach a class in the Vertigo language and give a lecture afterward about the philosophy and spirituality of the company’s practice. There will also be a reception for our friends’ circle and finally a performance of ‘Pardes.’
“The last day is about Human. On that day we will hold a performance of the ‘Power of Balance’ initiative. They will perform a piece by Sharon Fridman. Then there will be a panel to talk about the story of integrated dance,” says Sha’al.
The celebrations will continue following the Suzanne Dellal Center weekend, with events in multiple locations. During Sukkot, the company will host performances and workshops at their ecological village on Kibbutz Netiv Halamed Hey. The village, which Wertheim and Sha’al founded as a beacon for environmentally conscious art and life, is an inspiration for people around the world.
“The village is beyond dance,” says Sha’al. “Groups come here for the courses we teach, during the summer for all ages, but also the village draws people from all over. This is a new village that was born in Israel and is recognized internationally.
“For 15 years we have been cultivating this. There’s a theater, people perform here, there are workshops; more and more people come each year, both dancers and not, to experience the meeting of dance and ecology.
“The eco art village is unique in the world. The combination of art and ecology is what distinguishes the company and the village. It’s a holistic approach that is hard to explain. The power of Vertigo is the connection between these things. And people feel it. They take a workshop, see a show, come to the village – that’s the reason to celebrate.”
LATER IN the year, Vertigo will continue the party with a premiere by Wertheim, currently in process. “The premiere will go up in November. For the 30-year anniversary, we went back to work with people we love, such as Ran Bagno, and set and costume designers whom we worked with a lot. We worked with dancers who have been with us for many years and speak the Vertigo language.
“It isn’t only about choreography and movement, but generosity and maturity. We don’t know what will come out in the studio, but there are already 10 shows booked before Noa has even put anything out. That’s a note of respect for an artist that people buy a show before seeing anything, blindly.”
The company is also getting their tour gears back in working order. Recently, Wertheim created a work for a dance company in Kassel, Germany. “It was her first time creating for a company other than Vertigo,” says Sha’al. Later in the year, the company will visit Korea, and in 2023, they will perform at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City.
None of this is lost on Sha’al, who continues to be amazed by the wealth of opportunities, influence and knowledge the company has amassed. “We didn’t know that this is what would be, when we made the duet ‘Vertigo.’ It’s something we learned in time, who we are, and not be afraid to say it out loud.”
Vertigo Dance Company will celebrate its 30-year anniversary at the Suzanne Dellal Center from June 15-17. For more information, visit www.suzannedellal.org.il