Israel’s Vertigo Dance Company made its Australian debut at the Brisbane Festival in September. They performed a piece titled Mana, which means “vessel of light” and comes from the Zohar, the Jewish mystical text. Mana featured eight dancers exploring the contrasts between dark and light, male and female. Both the moon and sun were powerful symbols in the piece, which drew inspiration from the ancient text it is named after.
Five years ago Noa Wertheim, Vertigo’s co-artistic director, and her three sisters created the Vertigo Eco Art Village in Israel’s Elah Valley, overlooking the site where Bible says David defeated Goliath. They live with their families in the village, which has composting toilets, solar-heated showers and a water-recycling system.
Today, the village is also home to a professional dance studio/theater and a sculpture garden. It hosts activities with the goal of ‘fostering artistic creation engaged with the environment,” including educational workshops in practical ecology, agriculture, green technologies, etc., while Vertigo dancers rehearse in a refurbished chicken coop. Their dance philosophy surfs the edges between art and science. Their programs can range from building sustainable wind turbines to studying movement, yoga, Jewish religious philosophy, earth building and classical ballet.
Wertheim’s husband, Adi Sha’al, is also a dancer. They met at the Jerusalem Tamar Dance Company, and together they founded Vertigo in 1992. The company has received several awards from Israel’s Ministry of Culture; most recently Vertigo dancer Rina Wetheim won 2010’s outstanding dancer award.
Image of woman dancing via Shutterstock
Read more about Vertigo, ecology and dance from Israel:
Vertigo Dancers Get Their Groove On in an Eco-Arts Village
Cooped Up With Vertigo
Celebrate Shavuot at Vertigo Eco-Arts Village, A Great Alternative to All That Cheese