Batsheva Dance Company
By Ohad Naharin
Herzliya Performing Arts Center
Ohad Naharin's latest creation, "Telophaza," breaks from his previous line of powerful extravaganzas such as "Anaphaza" on the one hand, and from his more serious, heavily layered works like "Virus" on the other. It is an obvious Naharinian product, derivative of his freestyle Ga-Ga training. But behind it there are fresh nuances.
With well mastered craftsmanship, Naharin offers a musical potpourri that starts with contemporary Indian pop (Sirtaki), moving on to jazz, Oriental, ambiance, and more. The musical variety is matched by countless costume changes that flood the stage with color.
The stage at Herzliya could hardly contain the mass commotion created by the Batsheva company (the performance was originally created for the big, open air stage of Timna Park near Eilat). Many sections of "Telophaza" gain impact from the synchronized movement of the dancers, though the repeated movement's phrase is rather simple. The synchronized opening scene set the mood: three dozen dancers bent forward with their heads down, rocking their torsos like mechanical toys charging up. Throughout the work Naharin reused this technique to great effect with different phrases, interlacing a variety of rhythmical moods with measures of intimacy.
For the first time, Naharin also used four video screens to reveal close-ups of individual dancers' faces. The oversized visuals allowed for direct eye-contact between performers and spectators. Interaction between dancers and audience was also encouraged by the performers, who instructed the audience to follow a succession of hand or facial gestures. Most people were eager to follow the instruction and partake in Naharin's vision. The performance ended with a message of love, as the camera focused on the faces of Yoshifumi and Christine Inao, naked on stage, delicately caressing each other's face.