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Helga And The Three Sailors

A new performance by choreographer Netta Yerushalmy in collaboration with composer Judith Berkson, set to premiere at Danspace Project, 2014.

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DiP residency

Posted on September 16, 2014 by Netta Yerushalmy


Netta was selected as the Fall 2014 Dance in Process Resident Artist at the Gibney Dance Center.

Three weeks of uninterrupted studio time leading up to the premiere of HELGA!


Choreographer Netta Yerushalmy will collaborate with composer Judith Berkson on the creation of an evening-length performance, set to premier in November 2014 at Danspace Project in New York City. The work will be comprised of two connected parts that have separate choreographic structures created by Yerushalmy. The original score, which Berkson will compose and perform live, will support the distinct sensibilities of each of the two sections, and serve to connect them sonically and conceptually.

The notion of the unadorned body is explored in two very different ways in the work: heightened formalism on the one hand, and heightened humanism and self-reflexivity on the other. In a trio danced by Marc Crousillat, Amanda Kmett’Pendry, and Sarah Lifson Yerushalmy explores the idea of seeing the moving body as pictorial matter. The disjointed structure of the dance will take its cues from the logic and aesthetics of Cubist collages. This attempt at structural abstraction is preceded by Yerushalmy performing a solo that engages with the presence and particular history of her moving body. Using old home movies of her carelessly dancing as a child, she transposes these found-movement sequences to her trained body of today, essentially proposing a self-analysis through the lens of the corporeal, and a look at the geology of her body.

Berkson’s starting point for composing the music is the unadorned voice. Without effects, processing, or amplification, the voice inherently draws attention to itself. Her attempt will be to both resist and submit to that tendency. Berkson will start with single lines formed by the voice and melodica to create a minimal score through acoustics. The melodica was chosen as a natural extension of the voice: an instrument of limited power, range, and sustain, and for it’s reedy quality. As the work progresses Berkson will introduce harmony and polyphonic structures, adding accordion and organ. Her music will engage now directly with the dancing, though her physical presence will be removed from the actual stage space, evoking absence and nostalgia.

In both sections the un-amplified live music along with highly powerful live dancing will render the room sonically charged.

This is Yerushalmy and Berkson’s first collaboration. Though Yerushalmy has a history of collaborating with excellent new-music composers, this project will be the first time that her choreography includes live music.

Support for this project is provided by Process Space residency and a Manhattan Community Arts Funds grant, both awarded by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. It is also supported with a Dance in Process Residency at the Gibney Dance Center.

Project Media

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Features: Netta Yerushalmy

5 min excerpt from an evening-length piece
Performers: Joanna Kotze, Toni Melaas, Stuart Singer, Ofir Yudilevitch

The score, by Mark degli Antoni, follows the choreographic structure which intricately clashes distinct aesthetic modes, ranging from representational Baroque iconography to the abstract.

Composer Degli Antoni co-founded the Warner Bros band Soul Coughing. He has performed & recorded with David Byrne, Laurie Anderson, John Zorn, and Low, and scored films by Werner Herzog, Wallace Shawn, Finn Taylor, and William Wegman.

Rooms Without a View (Danspace Project, NYC, 2009)
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Features: Netta Yerushalmy

Performers: Lily Baldwin, Lawrence Cassella, Joanna Kotze, Toni Melaas, Markus Weaver, Jesse Zaritt

Evoking a NYC apartment building, multiple forms of life unfold in close proximity to one another. Each scene, a duet or a solo, is set in a private apartment or room. The work spans 33 minutes, compressing a day in the lives of these people.
The score by Mark degli Antoni weaves a detailed fabric of urban sounds and atmospheres and gives the dance its filmic sensibility.
(see more about the composer in WS#1 above)

ADON (an example of Berkson’s vocal work)
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Features: Judith Berkson

Judith Berkson is equal parts classical, contemporary music, microtones and cantorial singing. “More remarkable than the range of genres is Ms. Berkson’s mastery of them and her ability to weave them into a seamless program.” (Wall Street Journal). She’s collaborated with City Opera Vox Festival and Kronos Quartet since 2008 on arrangements of Schubert and cantorial music for performances and for their release “A Thousand Thoughts”- Nonesuch Records (2014). Her solo album “Oylam”was for ECM Records- “I can’t get enough of it” (New York Times)

Start and End Dates



New York, New York

1 update
Last update on September 16, 2014

Project Created By

New York, New York
Netta Yerushalmy is a dance artist based in New York City. Her work aims to engage with audiences by imparting the sensation of things as they are perceived, not as they are known, and to challenge how meaning is attributed and constructed. Netta is a 2019-2021 Princeton Arts Fellow at Princeton University. For her choreographic…

In Collaboration With

composer, performer


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