Dance: Perry-formance

The Peridance Contemporary Dance Company presents three pieces.

The Peridance Contemporary Dance Company (photo credit: DEKEL HAMATIAN)
The Peridance Contemporary Dance Company
(photo credit: DEKEL HAMATIAN)
When training for her role in the film The Company, actress Neve Campbell frequented professional dance classes around New York City. One of her favorite haunts was Igal Perry’s 10 a.m. ballet class in Union Square. It was there that Campbell could observe dancers hailing from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds. To this day, Perry’s morning class is one of the most popular and diverse on the scene. What sets Perry apart from his counterparts in the New York dance community is his inside knowledge of contemporary choreography. For Perry, the founder and director, as well as main artistic voice behind the Peridance Contemporary Dance Company and Peridance Capezio Center, his life’s work is dance and dancers.
“I enjoy teaching and choreographing. I teach every day,” he says over Skype from Paris, where he is fulfilling a teaching engagement. “I teach ballet, which is a very important and interesting basis for work, but my works are not ballet. I left the contemporary style for my work and don’t teach it. I teach ballet in my own style. It suits modern dancers, as it is very open and not a specific style because it limits the dancers. I always say that my favorite time of day is the morning class.” This month, Perry will present his choreography as part of the annual Tel Aviv Dance Festival at the Suzanne Dellal Center and at the Karmiel Festival. “We are very happy to be invited again to perform in Israel,” he says. “Two years ago, we performed at the Karmiel Festival, and now we are coming to Suzanne Dellal. As an Israeli, it’s very important to me to come back not just myself but with my company. It’s important for me to share the product of my labor with my home country and my childhood friends and family.”
Perry left Israel over three decades ago. His dance career began as part of Yonatan Karmon’s (founder of the Karmiel Festival) famous folk company. From hora, Perry graduated to pirouettes with the Bat Dor Dance Company and later Batsheva Dance Company. Feeling the need to broaden his horizons, Perry moved abroad, where he continued to develop his skills. And though the majority of his professional life was spent outside of Israel, Perry identifies influences in his upbringing. “Most of my development as an artist took place in the States, but I am always Israeli,” he asserts. “My style of work is very much influenced by my time in Israel, by Israeli folk dances. I don’t run away from that past, I embrace it.”
While in town, PCDC will present a mixed program of three works: Manuel Vignoulle’s Crazy, Crazy Love...; Dwight Rhoden’s Evermore; and Perry’s Thundering Silence.
“Every year we bring choreographers to work with the company, and I do at least one new piece. Manuel Vignoulle teaches at the Peridance Capezio Center and has taught in our certificate program. He is a French artist living in New York. His work is very light and fun; it’s American style, even though he is French. Dwight Rhoden is the artistic director of Complexions. We have been colleagues for years. A few years back I made a piece on his company. The deal was that when he could, he would make a piece for PCDC. The work is danced to jazz standards like Nat King Cole. It is very special, dynamic, athletic and very distinct to Dwight,” he says.
Thundering Silence is the newest of Perry’s creations, which premiered last March. “The piece is set to music by Vladimir Martynov, who was inspired by Schubert. It is a very complex piece that starts off slow and builds in dynamics. I gave a contradiction to the build of the music with my choreography,” explains Perry. He says that Thundering Silence is unlike any of his previous works. “I always try to find new methods to express my choreography and different technical and musical approaches. I don’t want to repeat myself too much. Of course, I have a style and people can see my works and know that they are mine, which is good, but I try not to let it stick me in one place,” he says.
Peridance Contemporary Dance Company will perform at the Karmiel Festival on July 30 at 3:30 p.m. and at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv on July 31 at 10 p.m. For more information, visit