Vertigo and Noa Wertheim ring out 2020

Vertigo Dance Company is set to host a major festival, albeit online, in which it will premiere two new works created during this strange period.

Noa Werthiem Bardo (photo credit: YOEL LEVY)
Noa Werthiem Bardo
(photo credit: YOEL LEVY)
Throughout her remarkable career, choreographer Noa Wertheim has had to roll with the punches more than a handful of times. Being spontaneous, adaptable and light on one’s feet are qualities that make leading a major dance company feasible. With her uniquely spirited outlook and approach to life, Wertheim has turned many lemons into meringue pies. Challenges present themselves and, together with her partner in life and work Adi Sha’al, Wertheim finds creative solutions to keep doing what she loves while tailoring her company’s activities to the current times.
This has never been as crucial as in the past several months. With theaters closed and performance options incredibly and indefinitely limited, keeping a company afloat is a nearly impossible task. Yet Vertigo Dance Company is set to host a major festival, albeit online, in which it will premiere two new works created during this strange period.
“We had planned to have a festival during Sukkot I think, I barely remember which holiday it was, but it had to be postponed” laughs Wertheim over the phone. “Now, we will have it at the end of December to ring out the year.”
At first, Wertheim and Sha’al had hoped that by this point, live performances would be within the restrictions. However, facing yet another postponement, they decided to roll with the times and host the festival using digital platforms. Over the course of five days, they will broadcast two new works, Bardo by Wertheim for the company and a duet by former Vertigo star Rina Wertheim-Koren together with percussionist Itamar Doari as well as a selection of works from the company’s repertoire.
“Bardo, in Sanskrit, means a transitional period between life and rebirth,” says Wertheim. “That is very much where we are, having to reinvent ourselves over and over.” To make this work, Wertheim called on several veteran Vertigo dancers to form a capsule and keep the creative fires burning in the studio. “When all this happened, I sent my foreign dancers home. In any case, I prefer to cultivate Israeli talent. I try to keep percentage of foreign low so as to give positions in the company to local dancers. We got a group together of our seasoned dancers and we began working.” Naturally, the outside world filtered into the creative process. Wertheim and her cast used their hours in the studio to process, reflect upon and release the difficulties they were being faced with the outside. “It’s a very light piece. I think we were all in need of some lightness,” explains Wertheim.
The second premiere is another near miracle. “Rina and Itamar had these plans to make a work together. They were meant to perform it in a bunch of different places but the lockdown stopped that. They managed to perform live once and are continuing their very interesting collaboration here.” For Wertheim-Koren, this marks a return to the stage after a long pause. Once a seminal member of the company and the longstanding right-hand woman of Wertheim’s, she had left the stage seven years ago and not returned. Until now.
In addition, the Vertigo Dance Festival will present screenings of Leela, One. One and One and the iconic Birth of the Phoenix. Also set to be broadcast is Sharon Fridman’s creation Shape On Us, which is performed by the dancers of the Power of Balance project under the direction of Tali Wertheim and Hai Cohen. The group is comprised of performers with and without disabilities. Shape On Us was filmed during its premiere as part of the Israel Festival.
All of these pieces, remnants of canceled performances and postponed plans have been carefully curated to compose the festival’s program. “I feel very strongly that this festival represents what we are all about: art, community and environment.”
The Vertigo Dance Festival will take place December 27-31. For more information, visit All events will be free of charge.