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Koresh course

"Dancers are the purest artists in the world," says Philadelphia's Ronen "Roni" Koresh, who founded the Koresh Dance Company in 1991.

The Koresh Dance Company returns to the Lehigh Valley, 8 p.m. Jan. 26, Miller Symphony Hall, 23 N. Sixth St., Allentown.

Koresh was born and raised in Israel and started dancing at the age of 10. He trained with his mother, a folk dancer in the Yemenite tradition. He then became a member of Martha Graham's Batsheva 2 Dance Company at the age of 17.

After emigrating to the United States in 1983, Koresh trained at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, New York City. In 1984, he performed with Shimon Braun's Waves Jazz Company, Philadelphia.

Koresh's eclectic dance background has created an interesting breed of choreographer. He travels the world with his vibrant Philadelphia-based company infused with ballet, modern and jazz.

A reviewer for the Philadelphia Inquirer observed, "If you like your dancing hard, fast and intense, The Koresh Dance Company is for you ... liquidly sensual, clean, expressive gestures ... imparting a richness to the events on stage."

Koresh has a vast repertoire of more than 40 works that grows every year. The company's 20th anniversary tour surveying the last 10 years included "Trust," "Outline," "Bolero" and "The Heart." The Koresh Dance Company performed 12 years ago at the Mayfair arts festival, Allentown.

For its Miller Symphony Hall performance, Koresh Dance Company is expected to offer works from its 20-year history. Highlights may include excerpts from "Carousel" (1991), "Negative Spaces' (2004), "Looking Back: The Music of the 40s and 50s" (2006), "ev•o•lu•tion" (2009) and "Through the Skin" (2011), as well as Koresh's newest works.

Says Koresh, "Each work is like its own country with a specific vocabulary and specific habits, which makes every work different because it is about discovery and that is how we grow.

"My choreography is based on life experiences and knowledge, growth and the trust that comes through me, with the logic of body and mind. I am an artist who processes environment and life through dance."

Of the Koresh Dance Company, Wendy Perron of Dance magazine, wrote, "The dancers of Koresh are technically superb but even better, they are allowed to be individuals."

Koresh allows his dancers space to be creative by giving them the freedom to show what they see and feel, which is then incorporated into his choreography.

Says Koresh, "The dancers' voices must be in there, too, because they must come up with solutions as well."

Notes Koresh company dancer, Alexis Viator, "I can't tell the difference between my sweat and tears."

Koresh is on the faculty of The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, and still makes time for his own school, Koresh School of Dance. Children and adults may study tap, ballet, modern and hip-hop.

Koresh says he loves teaching "to be connected with the pulse of the times."