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Roni’s dance philosophy

by Lewis Whittington for the Dance Journal

Choreographer Ronen Koresh is known for high intensity dance that often hits mach speed drive, when he slows things down, you are reminded how inventive he continues to be. Many of those trademarks were fuses in new ballet Trust, but also showcased how expansive Koresh’s choreography has become. The variations on the big theme- trust in humanity, community, publicly and privately- are not freighted, but float. In the most gritty, literal sense onstage for these performers- trust between dancers, because, though it is not often discussed, there are, for starters, physical risks.

The piece has 15 sections almost could be called a celebration of the personality of the company and their full out commitment to this choreography.  The music is a mix of techno-industrial, contemporary Israeli and classical selections that seem to be tapping a new vein of Koresh- style musicality. Lots of stage atmospherics created by the smoky, slashing film noir lighting designs by Peter Jakubowski also compellingly synced.

The opening tableau ’Space’ almost comedic, Koresh women fling themselves onstage and they start a repeated theme of alternating convulsive dance phrases with silky resolves. When the men come in, there are dizzying mis-en-scenes in the section called ‘Fire’ and it seems like this might move into predictable psychosexual territory.

Many of the vignettes unfolded almost ponderously, then they just took off all building the collective dramatic dance arc. Then third title segment ‘Trust’ segment begins with Micah Geyer and Shannon Branham in a tender, metronomic duet, set to Eric Satie’s  “Trois Gymnopédies” and 12 bars in the ensemble joins them on a releve phrase that was so inside the music and for the ensemble, punched in another realm. From there this piece just took off with relationship – lover duets with Eric Bean, Jr. partnering Robert Tyler full of intimacy past sex and then followed in a more whimsical key with Jessica Daley and Asya Ziatina.  A trio with Krista Montrone partnering Bean and Tyler is jarringly packed with athleticism and grace. Later, in contrast ‘Rage’ a trio with Shannon Bramham, Geyer and Rector dance stalking the stage in grotesque, pissed off expressions.

Somehow, Koresh made Aboloni’s Adagio a non-dirge dance, somehow, and the dancers were even able to quote a slowed down lindy. An example of Koresh’s increased sense of dance whimsy. He choreographs Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, for six dancers, a geometric torsoed, metronomic forward and backward dance that is subtly hypnotic.

The charm continued with a sloppy, at ease waltz by Joe Cotler and Alexis Viator. This was followed by a club techno tango danced with fiery intensity by Melissa Rector and Geyer. The inventive lift patterns allowed for Rector’s trademark hyper leg extensions. The ending ‘Shout’ line up with the dancers on the skirt of the stage facing off with the audience met with a bounding standing ovation, with the choreographer joining the dancers on the fourth bow.

***Koresh Dance Company – Trust at Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Philadelphia on Dec. 2, 2012

- Lewis Whittington

Lewis Whittington is an arts journalist based in Philadelphia. He started writing professionally in the early 90s as a media consultant for an AIDS organizations and then as a theater and dance reviewer for the Philadelphia Gay News. Mr. Whittington has covered dance, theater, opera and classical music for the Philadelphia Inquirer and City Paper.

Mr. Whittington’s arts profiles, features, and stories have appeared in The Advocate, Dance International, Playbill, American Theatre, American Record Guide, The Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide, EdgeMedia, and Philadelphia Dance Journal. Mr. Whittington has received two NEA awards for journalistic excellence.

In addition to interviews with choreographers, dancers, and artistic directors from every discipline, he has interviewed such music luminaries from Ned Rorem to Eartha Kitt. He has written extensively on gay culture and politics and is most proud of his interviews with such gay rights pioneers as Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings.

Mr. Whittington has participated on the poetry series Voice in Philadelphia and has written two (unpublished) books of poetry. He is currently finishing Beloved Infidels, a play about the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh. His editorials on GLBTQ activism, marriage equality, gay culture and social issues have appeared in Philadelphia Inquirer, City Paper, and The Advocate.

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