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Koresh Dance Company offers up Promises I Never Meant to Keep

Photo credit: Frank Bicking

Artistic Director Ronen (Roni) Koresh reflects on change and responsibility in his exhilarating, emotionally gripping new work for Koresh Dance Company’s 23rd home season. Promises I Never Meant to Keep will debut May 2-4, 2014 at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre on Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts. “It’s about something treated lightly that becomes important over time,” Koresh says of the new piece. “It looks into the growth that occurs through life’s unpredictability, and the promises you never expected to make but find that you’ve kept in the end.”

Since 1991, Koresh Dance Company has impressed audiences with its powerful stage presence and high-energy style. In uniquely personal works that range from humorous and eloquent to passionate and explosive, the 10-member company has been called “fresh, urgent and deeply persuasive” by the LA Times. Its dancers bring “a jolt of crisp energy” (Philadelphia City Paper) to both national and international stages, and offer audiences “non-stop dynamism” (The Denver Post) through bodies that “become a single entity, a piece of life moving as if with one heartbeat” (San Antonio Express). As Dance Magazine says of Koresh: “It’s all dance, and all art.”

Promises I Never Meant to Keep will bring the company home after a busy season touring the hard-hitting, minimalist Koresh style in over a dozen cities. Promises, Roni Koresh says, engages this signature style while furthering his mission “to portray our lives with clarity, to distill a thought” through dance. Early in the rehearsal process, he and the dancers pin down the movement vocabulary that will express the discovery of responsibility in Promises. “How many letters are there in the English language?” Koresh asks. “You use no more steps than that.” He also draws on eclectic musical inspiration, setting movement to pieces by Italian Baroque composer Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni, German pianist Nils Frahm, American saxophonist John Zorn, and Norwegian electronic composer Biosphere (Geir Jenssen).

Koresh’s exploration of commitment and dedication surfaces as Koresh Dance Company keeps old promises—and makes new ones—to the city that has supported it for almost a quarter of a century. The company recently moved into a building in Philadelphia’s thriving Rittenhouse Square, and is in the process of purchasing the property to house both the company and the Koresh School of Dance. Last year it also launched the Come Together festival, which creates opportunities for local emerging and established companies to perform together, and fuels dance community in Philadelphia. Reflecting the company’s outreach mission to present exciting, accessible contemporary dance to wide-ranging audiences, the debut of Promises I Never Meant to Keep will include a post-performance discussion on the evening of May 3rd, and a closing-night reception for ticket-holders on May 4th.  The company’s investment in educating young dancers will also be evident onstage as the Koresh Youth Ensemble opens each performance with choreography by Assistant Artistic Director and company dancer Melissa Rector.


Promises I Never Meant to Keep
Friday May 2, 8pm
Saturday May 3, 2pm & 8pm
Sunday, May 4, 7pm
Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad Street (Broad & Lombard Sts.), Philadelphia, PA 19146
Box Office: 215.985.0420
Tickets: General: $35 ; Seniors: $30; Students: $25
Purchase online at philadelphiatheatrecompany.org


About Ronen Koresh
Ronen (Roni) Koresh was born and raised in Israel. He received early dance training from his mother, a folk dancer in the Yemenite tradition, and from teachers Alida Gera, Micha Deri, Nira Paz and Moshe Romano. Koresh joined Martha Graham’s Batsheva 2 Dance Company before enlisting for 3 years in the Israeli army. In 1983, he moved to New York to study with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He began performing with Shimon Braun’s Waves Jazz Dance Company in Philadelphia, and in 1991, founded Koresh Dance Company in Philadelphia, followed by the Koresh School of Dance in 1993. Koresh has established a repertoire of over 40 works and develops 2 to 3 new works each year. These have included commissions for the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Giordano Dane Chicago, GroundWorks Dance Theatre, Las Vegas Contemporary, Odyssey Dance Theatre, Spectrum Dance Theater, the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, and Dance Celebration, a co-presentation of Dance Affiliates and Penn Presents. Koresh has been on the faculty at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts since 1986, teaches master classes across the country, and participates in festivals including Jacob’s Pillow and the Northwest National Dance Project. An avid collaborator and supporter of emerging artists, he is an integral member of the local arts community. His interdisciplinary projects with Philadelphia artists have been supported by multi-year fellowships from the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

About Koresh Dance Company
Koresh Dance Company was founded in Philadelphia in 1991, and is widely recognized for its superb technique and emotionally-compelling appeal. It presents bi-annual home seasons as the resident dance company of the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, and has toured in over 38 states and 7 countries. The company’s interdisciplinary foundation promotes high-speed attack and gestural diversity drawn from Graham technique, Luigi jazz, classical ballet, hip hop and Israeli folk dance. Guest choreographers including Donald Byrd (Spectrum Dance Theater), Ohad Naharin (Batsheva Dance Company), Robert Battle (Battleworks/Alvin Ailey), Itzik Galili (Galili Dance) and Paul Selwyn Norton have produced works for the company. The company currently consists of dancers Shannon Bramham, Fang-Ju Chou Gant, Joseph Cotler, Jessica Daley, Micah Geyer, Krista Montrone, Kevan Sullivan, Robert Tyler, Asya Zlatina, and Melissa Rector, who also serves as the company’s Assistant Artistic Director.

- Steven Weisz

Founder & Editor
While not a dancer himself, Weisz’s love for the arts and dance started as a child growing up in New York City. With parents, who were strong supporters of the arts and part of a community with an incredible array of notable artists in music, dance, theater and fine arts, Weisz’s access and affinity for the performing arts took root. Upon attending college in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania in the mid 70’s, Weisz started performing as a puppeteer, magician, juggler and fire eater as a means of supplementing his income. This soon grew in to what became Rainbow Promotions Inc., one of the largest entertainment and special events producers in the region. It was here that he began to promote and book dance for major events throughout the city. Many of the dancers he worked with in the early days of his company are now major choreographers in Philadelphia. At the same time, Weisz’s interest in computers and the early developments of what is now known as the Internet, led him to also start another company, Delaware Valley On Line, which became one of the first regional ISPs. It was this combination of event production, internet development and event marketing that led him to examine the use of the internet as a means to promote the arts. Dance continued to be a major interest for Weisz and in 2005 he founded PhiladelphiaDANCE.org as a major online resource to promote dance in the city. It was soon after that the Dance Journal was also founded as a way to provide an outlet for writing on a range of topics that encompass the ever growing and emerging dance community in the region. Weisz continues to run both PhiladelphiaDANCE and The Dance Journal on purely a voluntary basis with no income derived from any of his projects. He is also the Artistic Director of Graffito Works, a unique platform for dancers and performing artists to create site-specific work and to make it readily accessible to the public.

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