ERIC VINC3NT & KORESH DANCE COMPANY OF PHILADELPHIA
A while back in time - the exact year is uncertain - Ronen Koresh, artistic director and chief choreographer of his newly-formed Koresh Dance Company, was having drinks with Eric Vincent in a cavernous Philadelphia rock club where Eric had just performed a set of original songs. At one point, in a proposition that would later prove fortuitous, Roni said to Eric, “You should write music for my dance company.” Somewhat nonplussed, Eric took a long pull of his beer, and then explained to his Israeli émigré drinking buddy that he didn’t ‘write’ music, but was merely a self-taught electric guitarist. “I know,” Roni replied. “That’s what would be cool about it.”
So in the ensuing weeks, Eric scrounged up a used keyboard synthesizer, tweaked his 4-track tape recorder, and composed two full-length orchestral soundtracks for Koresh Dance Company to perform to: Second Nature, and Ancient Future. Each were staged that year to sold-out engagements at the Merriam and Drake theaters. “Eric Vincent’s lush chords drove the rapid choreography,” declared Merilyn Jackson in her review of Second Nature in the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Koresh was voted Best Dance Company in the Philadelphia City Paper’s annual readers’ poll that year. Ancient Future was such a hit with University of the Arts School of Dance executive director Susan Glazer, she invited Koresh to stage it in the 2000 Feet World Dance Festival at the Merriam Theater.
Roni then packed up his troupe and flew them out west, where they opened the Colorado Springs Dance Theatre’s 23rd season with Ancient Future. The theatre’s executive director, Mary Beth Burichin, declared in an open letter: “The jury is in. The Koresh Dance Company gave the Colorado Springs Dance Theatre one of its most exuberant, dynamic and successful season openers ever in its 23 years of presenting world-class dance.”
One month later, Koresh brought Ancient Future back to Philadelphia for five consecutive nights of standing-room-only performances at the Drake Theater. “Circuit-pounding, techno-percussive groove... someone turned the rhythm switch on!” declared Lewis Whittington of the Philadelphia Weekly, and Jonathan David Jackson of the Philadelphia City Paper weighed in, “With music by Eric Vincent, Ancient Future is about dancing like an egalitarian community… Best of all, this work demonstrates how successful working with Philadelphia-based composers can be.”
In the wake of all this, Eric Vincent and Ronen Koresh were each awarded grants in recognition of their work: Eric’s coming from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), and Roni’s from the Pew Charitable Trusts. But more important, for a brief but magical window of time, these two drinking buddies came to be known as the Balanchine and Stravinsky of Philadelphia’s burgeoning downtown scene.