Israeli choreography lights up Independence Day celebrations in Croatia

  (photo credit: Embassy of Israel in  Croatia )
(photo credit: Embassy of Israel in Croatia )

An energetic performance choreographed by Israeli artist Ohad Naharin lit up the celebrations of Israel’s 75th Independence Day in Zagreb, Croatia, in May.

The Embassy of Israel in the city organized a reception at the National Theater. At the end of reception, the guests were invited to enjoy the piece “Deca Dance," a renowned work by the Batsheva Dance Company, performed by the theater’s dance troupe.

About 250 guests attended the event. Education Minister Radovan Fuchs gave a speech on behalf of the Croatian government. Attendees included senior officials from the Foreign, Interior and Defense ministries, the Speaker of the Parliament, representatives of the President's House and members of the diplomatic, cultural and Jewish communities.

The Israeli ambassador to Croatia Gary Koren. Credit - Embassy of Israel in Croatia
The Israeli ambassador to Croatia Gary Koren. Credit - Embassy of Israel in Croatia

At the end of the evening, the Israeli ambassador Gary Koren  thanked the Croatian National Theater in Zagreb and its director dr. sc. Iva Hraste-Sočo and offered the guests a Croatian-Hebrew phrase-book as a gift, in cooperation with a local publishing house.

"Deca Dance" is a compilation of excerpts from various works created by Naharin throughout his career, showcasing his unique movement language and style. Featuring an innovative and visually striking choreography, the piece is accompanied by a diverse selection of music. It premiered in 2000 and has since become one of Batsheva's signature productions.

Naharin is a prominent figure on the international dance scene. He began his choreographic career in 1980 after performing with renowned dance companies such as the Batsheva Dance Company, Martha Graham's Dance Company, and Maurice Béjart's troupe. His choreographic works have been showcased by various companies across the world. From 1990 to 2018, Naharin served as the artistic director of Batsheva, revitalizing the company's repertoire with his captivating choreography and adventurous artistic vision. In 2018, he became Batsheva’s House Choreographer.

 In addition to his roles as a choreographer and artistic director, Naharin developed Gaga, an innovative and ever-evolving movement language. Gaga was born out of Naharin's desire to communicate with his dancers and his curiosity in ongoing movement research. Gaga has transformed Batsheva's training methods, enhanced dancers' interpretations of Naharin's repertoire, and has gained recognition as a significant influence in the broader field of movement practices worldwide.

 In the week preceding the event marking Israel’s Independence Day, the embassy also hosted Batsheva’s choreographer Ian Robinson, who offered two Gaga masterclasses and assisted the National Theater’s dancers during rehearsals.

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