“Netta Yerushalmy’s dances, like fresh hot spices, are pungent, potent, head-clearing. Her dancers meet near-impossible demands of extreme, propulsive movement…”
(Eva Yaa Asentewaa, Village Voice)
“Netta Yerushalmy carries the torch for modern dance. Possessing none of that cynicism or restraint that characterizes so many of us...she makes big, energetic dances full of a self-assurance that has nothing to do with arrogance.”
(Karinne Keithley, OffOffOff.com)
“...this gifted choreographer has smart and provocative ideas and couches them in arresting movement...”
(Deborah Jowitt, Village Voice)
“In “Devouring Devouring,” an aptly named new work by the choreographer Netta Yerushalmy, the dancers practically ate the stage alive... At the start Joanna Kotze took firm steps along the perimeter of La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart theater… while facing the back wall, she delivered a high kick and then, as if being sucked through a wind tunnel, ended up on the floor stretched on her side. Quickly she shot a leg up and remained still as a statue. It’s an awkward pose, but it suits Ms. Kotze’s reedy, articulate body. “
“That idea of now they’re here, now they’re not is almost a vaudevillian tool in “Devouring,” which also emphasizes how Ms. Yerushalmy’s choreography has two sides: one is gawky and inelegant, and the other is dexterous and remote. An inspiration in “Devouring” is Baroque imagery — from time to time Mr. Singer even wore a ball gown, designed by Magdalena Jarkowiec. Yet Ms. Yerushalmy’s focus is the contrast between aesthetics. How does a man’s gently curving arms and wrists play off the movement of another dancer whose forearms are pressed tightly in front of her face? What constitutes a formal pose in modern life?” (Gia Kourlas, The New York Times)
"Ms Yerushalmy’s four dancers– all had a way of fooling me into believing that their limbs were longer than they actually are. I suppose much of this is owed to Ms Yerushalmy’s far-flung and impressively gumby movement. I’d be curious to know what kind of directives Ms Yerushalmy gives during rehearsal: each of the dancers had a mysterious ability to move as if their brains had no idea where their limbs would take them next. There were several moments throughout the piece when I found myself wondering if the dancers could possibly be improvising, only to remind myself that such intricate tableaux, partnerings and miniscule group pauses had to have been carefully choreographed."
"I found myself completely immersed. The delicately popped heel and a gentle opening of Ms Melaas’ palm, paired with Mr Singer’s excellent aristocratic face (his comedic timing is impeccable), was enough to make me sit up and take notice. A repeated image of the Pietà with Mr Yudilevitch was stunning..."
"...something must be said for every dancer’s dedication to their craft in this piece: all were beautiful, well-trained technicians who – best of all – were unafraid to fling their lithe bodies again and again throughout the space and to the floor. Each danced as if this was the most important piece of their lives, which is always a refreshing and commanding thing to see." (Rachel Rizzuto, Bachtrack.com)
“The dancers in Netta Yerushalmy's piece “Devouring Devouring,” enter the bare stage from behind an orange folded curtain. They appear alone, and then various combinations of the four dancers move energetically across the floor, sometimes entangling with one another like vines. An opening sequence that is repeated brings to mind images of a clock and time passing...There’s urgency and anxiety, beauty too, in these imaginative encounters. "
"During the performance, there is minimalist music and silence, and also a recording of a 1960s Woody Allen comic routine, repeated twice. A moose and a couple named the Berkowitzes get mixed up, a suggestion of how easy it is for one thing to seem like another.” (Sandee Brawarsky, The Jewish week)
"Yerushalmy evokes the sense of moving between locations by having the four vivid dancers sometimes disappear behind a curtain. The movement—now elegantly composed, now collapsing in on itself—vacillates similarly." (The New Yorker)
“ In one memorable sequence, Kotze lay prone on her back, slowly stretching her limbs into a series of contortions, with toes and fingers fully extended, as Zaritt feverishly leapt and spun in circles around her. At another point, Zaritt danced alone as Melaas and Kotze looked on, perfectly still except for arms that swung back and forth in limp unison, like clock pendulums...
...Sometimes, though, Yerushalmy’s choreography suggested an urge to reach past all the mechanized clanging toward genuinely human connections. In one such moment, the three dancers quit jumping and twirling and simply stood in a corner of the dark stage, huddled together in a single pool of light.” (Eileen Reynolds, The Forward)
Rooms Without A View
“…Ms. Yerushalmy applies her fierce choreographic imagination to that favorite New York pastime: sneaking glimpses into the lives of our neighbors. Her fine cast includes Lily Baldwin and Jesse Zaritt.” (Claudia La Rocco, The New York Times)
“Rooms Without a View - Netta Yerushalmy’s most complex and accomplished dance to date...(the piece) achieves fierce urgency through the potent physicality of kinetic motifs that accumulate dynamic density. Yerushalmy skillfully modulates theebb and flow of continuous action to draw our focus where she intends. Carol Mullins’s original lighting (reconstructed for the DNA space by Farley Whitfield) beautifully highlights and enhances the emotional temperatures. Like Anna Sokolw’s similarly titled 1955 classic, “Rooms,” Yerushalmy’s crescendo of restless dynamic tension gets under your skin and leaves you drained but nonetheless, emotionally replete.” (Gus Solomons, Solomons-says.com)
"The American choreographer, who was raised in Israel, resurrects a concept much like that of “Rooms,” Anna Sokolow’s 1955 study of the alienated, side-by-side lives of apartment dwellers. The audience takes the viewpoint of Jimmy Stewart in “Rear Window,” privy to all the contiguous dramas and free to draw connection...” (The New Yorker)
“Netta Yerushalmy's new ''Rooms Without a View,'' which opened at Danspace Project on Thursday, might well have been called the opposite since the audience has a perfect view into the four worlds presented in demarcated areas of the performance space. There is a sleeping couple who gradually awaken to pursue endless bouts of sex. (Admirably, Ms. Yerushalmy makes this quite clear without vulgarity.) There is another couple, twitchy, nervous, possibly driving each other quite insane, either moving quickly together, with stiff-armed, jerky, leg-lashing movements, or wandering separately and morosely. There is a tormented woman in a pink nightgown, alone in a room populated by dolls....Ms. Yerushalmy is clearly interested in relationships, in intimacy or the lack thereof, in the ties that bind or sever.” (Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times)
“Rooms without a view was highly entertaining and even the most infrequent dance goer can enjoy this work.” (theluxuryspot.com)
Come Closer Please...
“...come closer please, for which the audience is seated along three sides of the theater’s performing area, begins fascinatingly. While Toni Melaas, crouching very close to the audience, rolls a lipstick compulsively around in her hands, Yerushalmy dips her fingers into a box of red paint (or greasepaint) and draws swiftly on Melaas’s bare back. Then she slams her partner backward onto a sheet of white paper, rolls her off it, and hangs the resulting print up on a stretched rope. By the time she’s finished, there are four of these chaste representations of a quarrel that draws blood...Well-chosen, very dissimilar contemporary keyboard pieces by seven different composers chart the women’s combats and their rare pauses for reflection. Melaas, her arms and hands twisting around one another and pulling her body into their struggles, seems to be magnifying her lipstick game, while Yerushalmy, provided with a separate pool of light by designer Joe Levasseur, lashes the space around her with more knife-like limbs. Later, they echo each other loosely in a kind of uncommunicative dialogue. Once, coming together, they lean into each other, nuzzling slightly, but as if they neither wanted nor expected to do this. More disturbingly, Yerushalmy twice lies supine, and Melaas sits on her partner’s face, staring into space. For a long time. Any residual eroticism is minimalized by the implication of death by suffocation. “...If the piece had finished there, we’d have missed the strong unison dancing—the women smacking their bodies against the floor, twisting, rolling, and knotting and unknotting their legs as they do so...” (Deborah Jowitt, Village Voice)
“Yerushalmy's duet with choreographic collaborator Toni Melaas, benefits from the intimate arrangement of its audience around the edges of the theater's performance space. We feel the energy of the two women as they bound towards us or when one paints the other's back in slashes or dots of scarlet and slams her down onto a sheet of paper--surely an alarming form of printmaking. Over 25 minutes, the movement involves quirky, rubbery effects and various clinches and entanglements, suggesting volatile inner states and external connections. Boundaries will be violated. There will be blood.” (Eva Yaa Asentewaa, Infinite Body)
“Come Closer Please,” performed with Toni Melaas, opens strikingly. Ms. Yerushalmy paints Ms. Melaas’s back with red strokes as Ms. Melaas sits on the floor tossing a lipstick case in her hands. Then Ms. Yerushalmy pushes Ms. Melaas down onto a piece of paper to produce stark, calligraphic images, which she then hangs from a rope across the front. The red suggests blood,and the rope a laundry line. The audience members, seated on the stage around the dancers, are innocent voyeurs…” (Jennifer Dunning, The New York Times)
“The violence, however, erupts in …“Come Closer Please,” a…voyeuristic duet in which Yerushalmy connects with Toni Melaas in a grappling contest for domination.” (The New Yorker)
“A duet, well danced in the same jerky, flung-limb, entwined-body style by Toni Melaas and Ms. Yerushalmy.” (Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times)
“The dance “Dispositif” by Netta Yerushalmy deals with apparatuses of separation that control our lives. The entire theater is divided into dancers and observers – some are watching the audience and others are following the dancers. It is a fast dance, with surprising ways of intertwining, a plethora of details, and manipulative relationships. The movement vocabulary is interesting and is executed very well…” (Ruth Eshel, Ha'aretz)
“Netta Yerushalmy, an American who grew up in Israel, also made use of the audience, inviting several members to sit facing the rest of us for an excerpt from “Dispositif” (2006). Lucky them: They had an up-close view of Ms. Yerushalmy, a striking dancer who lashed her body through fierce lunges, wicked little pelvis rocks and explosive kicks, to a mashup of a score by DJ Kishak that included snippets of spoken French and the song “Dulcinea.” But not all of these audience members were what they seemed. Ms. Yerushalmy briefly tangled with one man onstage, then another gentleman abruptly left his chair and walked upstage, leaving her to sink into his place and stare out at the rest of us through the fading stage lights.” (Claudia La Rocco, The New York Times)
“A collection of fellows, each rehearsed separately share the space for the first time during the first night of performance. The Cagean strategy here helps to create a level of fuzz or noise absent from the work structured coherently from a single perspective. All the men's material relates somehow, and many seem to follow a similar progression, but the timing and the spacing of their correspondence is intricately jostled. All in white, occasionally the boys shape shift into little buddhas, especially Lawrence Cassella, who spends a good deal of time becoming a cross-legged marble. In the intermission preceding the dance, they played cards. Kayvon Pourazar lost the game and had to dance his material twice. The lone white mouse left in the maze, he retraces his steps until the next piece is ready to begin. Simplicity and curiosity again meet remarkable performance and vibrancy.” (Karinne Keithley,OffOffOff.com)
“…five guys from the upcoming 7:36 played cards; the loser would have to keep dancing the longest. (As I’d guessed—and hoped—the always fabulous Paul Matteson lost. Bet he cheated!)” (Eva Yaa Asentewaa, Village Voice)
Crater in Us
"Crater in Us" has a frictionless relationship to the coordinate plane of its craft and composition. Complicated, full of sense but undiagrammable, "Crater" is legitimately joyful. The experience watching the work is not one of a person sitting in the audience zone watching something occur in stage space, but of being in the room in which a serious event is happening.”….“Beautiful the way a scraped up and muddy eight year old is, this work is full bodied and "dancey" without employing any of the tired types of "beauty" that traditionally circumscribe dancing.” (Karinne Keithley, OffOffOff.com)
“Best shown in the finely calibrated interlocking movements of a women’s trio in Thesholds, Yerushalmy’s flights of fancy and explosive style rely upon a sturdy infrastructure.” (Eva Yaa Asentewaa, Village Voice)
“The dance works in much the same way, placing a pair exploring light intertwining curvatures against a trio of women part cut-out dolls, part automatons, part good traditional soldier girls. Jane Gotch and Mindy Nelson's costumes further support the distinction. A visual work finding abstract interest in people and cities, the feel is inquisitive. Like all of Yerushalmy's work, there's a vitality derived from taking real pleasure in movement.” (Karinne Keithley, OffOffOff.com)
“A quartet for women that follows the making and breaking of circular form most clearly belies the strong influence of Doug Varone on Yerushalmy's choreography. But rather than creating a work that is derivative, this piece feels to be a working-through of ideas of craft and development- a lesson in an approach to building a moving mass. Performed beautifully, it is an excellent piece of concert dance.” (Karinne Keithley, OffOffOff.com)
“...this quartet, for four outstanding performers, slips unexpectedly in and out of intricate unison patterns, leading to a compelling feeling of timeless cycles of birth and death. Yerushalmy combines her high level of choreographic craft with an unerring trust of her own instinct...” (Vanessa Paige Swanson, danceinsider.com)