Israeli dance company to perform at the Byham
DancePerformance on April 20, 8 p.m.

Israeli dance company to perform at the Byham

"For this city to see new work from around the world is one of the cornerstones of what we try to do here."

Vertigo Dance Company in “Makum” (Photo by Ziv Barak)
Vertigo Dance Company in “Makum” (Photo by Ziv Barak)

Randal Miller has wanted to bring Israel’s innovative Vertigo Dance Company to Pittsburgh since he saw the troupe perform several years ago at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City. The pandemic, though, got in the way.

Miller, the director of programming for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, said he’s thrilled to finally bring the Jerusalem-based dance troupe to the Byham Theater later this month for its Pittsburgh premiere.

“I’m really excited to be finally getting this company here after all these years of working on it,” Miller said.

Vertigo was founded by Noa Wertheim and Adi Sha’al in 1992. The company has a prominent presence in the Israeli dance scene and also has performed around the world — including in Korea, Germany and Turkey — serving as an ambassador for Israeli art.

“We see Vertigo as a messenger of Israeli art at its best, at home and abroad, that comes to bring people closer together and touch them through the language of the body,” Vertigo’s website touts. “As such, the company combines, in addition to its performances, master classes, workshops, co-productions with other companies from around the world and invites artists from different fields to create together with the company.”

Vertigo will perform its original piece “Makom” at the Byham on April 20 at 8 p.m.

In Hebrew, “makom” means “place.”

“In ‘Makom,’ Wertheim deals with the constant search to return to the place that brings us closer to ourselves, in a world that has gone out of place and lots its balance,” a spokesperson for Vertigo said. The piece “continues the same ecological and spiritual concept that the Vertigo Dance has adopted, creating a space in which there is a strong feeling and atmosphere, which cannot be ignored. The work presents a vacuuming space that makes you want to stay inside it and do nothing. The main thing is not to go outside, the main thing is to stay suspended between nothingness, to linger, before immediately returning to the world.”

Vertigo Dance Company in “Makum” (Photo by Ziv Barak)
The set and costumes of “Makom” are minimalistic, with an emphasis on the dancers. The set is comprised of wooden sticks forming platforms, ladders and bridges, and the costumes are in neutral hues.

Wertheim created the piece in 2022 “to bridge between right and left, between myself and my relationship with others,” she told Boston’s Jewish Journal last month. “We can all be gentle and we can all be violent. It is our choice as human beings.”

The debut of Vertigo in Pittsburgh is part of the Pittsburgh Dance Council’s 53rd season. The council joined the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust as a programming division in 2002 to bring contemporary dance companies from around the world to Pittsburgh.

Vertigo, Miller said, is “a great company that we’ve been working on for years. For this city to see new work from around the world is one of the cornerstones of what we try to do here. And after all this time, it’s finally working out.” PJC

Toby Tabachnick can be reached at

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