Limelight and Accents Performing Arts Series presented critically-acclaimed dance company Koresh in Wadsworth Auditorium on Saturday Nov. 7. Formed by Israeli-born artistic director Ronen Koresh, the company performed a groundbreaking fusion of ballet, jazz and contemporary dance. Since its formation in 1991, the company has gained international recognition—the Los Angeles Times described Koresh’s style as “fresh, urgent and deeply persuasive.” The company performed a set entitled “Mezze”—a mix of several dances taken from previous programs. Most of the songs seemed to have a specific focus on thing like love, fun and strife. The larger theme of relationships, however, bound all of them together. With no props except smoke, lights and simple costume design, the company achieved Koresh’s goal of showing “varieties of relationships and complexities of people” in a “new reality” that Koresh created himself.
Most of the accompanying music was purely instrumental with the exception of a handful of dances that incorporated excerpts from Karl Mullen’s poem “Promises I Never Meant to Keep.” Lines from the poem were recited before some of the dances, but it was an integral part of the dance “Promises.” Featuring only two performers, the piece was performed to repeating lines such as, “My promises are photographs/Like the one we took at the top of the Spanish mountain when the sun was going down and I told you I love you/And you cried/And we laughed.” This element turned the piece into a story—a fundamental aspect of the work of Koresh.
Apart from the poem, only the beginning song “What a Wonderful World” was lyrical. Koresh explained that most of the tunes are created for his company and that many types of music inspire them in order to “create some kind of mystique.” This is what Koresh did; the mix of traditional music and contemporary-electric seemed to keep the audience wondering where the dancers were in time and space.
In the question and answer session that followed the performance, Koresh revealed that one of his biggest influences is Israeli folk dance. This style of dance is what he first worked with at the beginning of his career. Since then, he has experimented with jazz and modern dance, fusing all three together in a captivating amalgamation.
Even with the modern twist, Koresh still incorporates a large amount of clapping and circle formations, which are both Israeli folk dance techniques. Koresh emphasized that the capability to continuously try new things is vital. “Every day, you can be something else,” he said.
Even though he has a hand in all aspects of the show—including light, music and costume—Koresh noted that he considers himself to be the “chef” who puts together a variety of ingredients that both he and his dancers come up with. As a result, the dancers do have input in the songs that they perform with seemingly effortless power and precision.
The dance company’s unique take on choreography, music and storytelling are what make Koresh a must-see performance.