Dance review: Venezuela

Venezuela is concept-based work which leads the viewer through a rugged, action filled and highly textured process.

May 14, 2017 20:34
1 minute read.
The Batsheva Dance Company

The Batsheva Dance Company. (photo credit: PR)


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Ohad Naharin’s thrilling masterpiece Last Work caused many to wonder whether Naharin was toying with the idea of taking some time off to recharge. Almost two years later he premiered Venezuela, which proved that the innovative choreographer had challenged himself once more and produced a fresh creative proposition exposing dance’s basic building blocks.

Venezuela is concept-based work which leads the viewer through a rugged, action filled and highly textured process that starts with a time-based formula, followed by movement’s content and thriving on various cultural sources – Gregorian chants, coarse rap, ballroom aesthetics, innuendo and more – and ends with a perplexing pile of contextual issues.

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Naharin envisioned Venezuela as two 40-minute acts. Both acts have the same movement sequences, each is danced by half the company, with partial reinforcement from the rest. Other variables like music, lighting, energy and performer intent may change. It toys with the way one perceived the previous act. It scrambles the memory, keeping the audience off balance.

Venezuela is a turbulent journey, composed of some bold, powerful scenes which knock your insides around, before switching to the clichés of tango. It rocks the stage with unruly, high-voltage unisons, or offers a leisure, animalistic ride in paradise.

Batsheva is known for its finesse, but Venezuela needs some tightening in certain climactic moments. Yet Naharin’s singularity is always captivating and at its best, his work is striking. He offers you riches and riddles in this merry mayhem called Venezuela, but as always, leaves you to take home your own singular impressions.

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