You love the richness of Philadelphia’s dance scene, but you’re not sure whether you prefer hip hop to ballet, jazz to contemporary, or tap over tradition? Maybe you’d like to see some new artists but don’t know where to start? Koresh Dance Company’s Come Together Dance Festival has something for you.
After a year’s hiatus, the festival, created by Koresh artistic director Ronen (“Roni”) Koresh and his brother, executive director Alon Koresh, has come back together again to showcase the depth and diversity of Philadelphia’s dance community. Familiar companies and those just getting started share the stage and the billing. It’s a chance to get just a taste of your favorites and to discover some others you may have never heard of before.
Creating a community for every style
Each of the five nights will offer an eclectic mix of styles, genres, and experience. In addition to the Koresh Dance Company, you can see Brian Sanders’s JUNK, Rennie Harris Puremovement, PHILADANCO!, and Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers, as well as Just Sole! Street Dance Theater Company, Lady Hoofers, Sharp Dance Company, Project Moshen, Tainan City Ballet, and more.
Dancers like Melissa Rector, of Koresh, and Evalina “Wally” Carbonell, of KYL/D, will have a chance to show off their choreographic and dancing skills; there will also be performances by the young dancers from the Koresh Pre/Professional Summer Intensive.
Not only did the Koresh brothers created their own dance company, they also reached out and created a community. “I’m excited about everyone who’s appearing,” says Roni, who feels the artists are equally excited. For example, he says, when he approached the very busy Rennie Harris, Harris said, “Anything you need.” That response is a testament to the strength of this community.
Outside the bubble
Whether it’s the artists invited to the festival or those who appear at the company’s Black Box Theatre during the year, Roni wants to give struggling artists a helping hand. “The city has been good to me,” he says, and he wants to share with others. This year’s festival includes the work of 41 dance companies, selected from over 100 invitees and applicants. While a few of the companies come from Chicago, New Jersey, Maine, and even Taiwan, Koresh is committed to keeping the festival local. Yet he recognizes the need for local companies to perform with “outsiders.”
“It’s important to connect with others so we’re not living in a bubble,” he says.
The festival is an opportunity for audiences to see the dancers, but it is also an opportunity for the dancers to be seen by agents and presenters so they can expand their work to larger audiences. It has a kind of synergy. By presenting Philly artists to the world, it enhances the Philadelphia dance scene and encourages more local artists in their work.
One of the major challenges of keeping the festival going has been finding financial support. In addition to this year’s funding from The Dexter F. & Dorothy H. Baker Foundation & Richard Glassman, Roni Koresh contributed to make it possible, and he is looking to other funders, like the Knight Foundation, for future support.
Koresh Dance Company’s 2017 Come Together Dance Festival runs August 16 through 20 at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia. Tickets ($23-$35) are available online or by calling (215) 985-0420.
At right: A soloist from SHARP Dance Company. (Photo by Bicking Photography, courtesy of Koresh.)