‘Three’ times a charm

After 15 years performing with Batsheva Dance Company, Adi Zlatin revisits her first role with the company this week.

December 27, 2015 21:06
3 minute read.
OHAD NAHARIN and Batsheva Dance Company’s ‘Three.’

OHAD NAHARIN and Batsheva Dance Company’s ‘Three.’. (photo credit: GADI DAGON)


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Ten years ago, during her second season as a member of Batsheva Dance Company, Adi Zlatin took part in the creation process of Ohad Naharin’s Three.

Her first endeavor of the sort, Zlatin spent most of her time in the studio awestruck, taking in Naharin’s work methods.

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“It was like a celebration for me,” says Zlatin over the phone.

“I can’t remember much about those days because as a new company member there was so much to take in, but I remember being thrilled.”

Zlatin, 32, hails from Jerusalem.

At the age of 18, having graduated from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance High School, Zlatin joined the Batsheva Ensemble. In 2004, after three seasons with the young company, she was invited to continue on to the main company.

The petite, sandy-haired dancer has served as a cornerstone in every one of the company’s creations since that first process. Her calm presence and deft physical capabilities are incredibly distinct in the Batsheva landscape.

This season marks 15 years for Zlatin within the walls of Batsheva’s home at the Suzanne Dellal Center. After nearly 2,000 performances, Zlatin will revisit her first roles with the company this week in the revival of Three.

“I am really enjoying working on Three again. I am always very happy to go back to older works because Ohad is always changing things. It’s still very interesting for me to see how he develops all of his ideas and movement. Everything is always in motion. And going back to something that I did so long ago makes me more aware of all of the knowledge that I have collected over the years.”

When Zlatin joined the company, Naharin’s movement language, Gaga, was in diapers.

Though the dancers practiced Naharin’s version of guided improvisation as a daily warmup, the technique had not yet received a formal structure or international recognition.

Today, Gaga is one of the most popular movement practices around the world and is studied by throngs of dancers and non-dancers alike.

“Gaga has developed so much and I have learned so much from it. We call the skills that it gives us our ‘toolbox.’ I feel that my toolbox is incredibly rich after all of these years.

Those tools help me in dance and in life. Working in Batsheva is very intense, working with our bodies, for 15 straight years is very challenging. Thanks to my training here, I know how to work when I’m injured or tired,” explains Zlatin.

While many of her peers chose to leave the company, Zlatin chose year after year to reinvest.

This, she divulges, is not an easy decision.

“It’s hard for me to imagine myself outside of Batsheva but I have thought of leaving many times. There were periods that I felt that my body was hurting but this year I don’t feel it yet. Usually at the end of the season you rethink things and then there’s a break and you get rejuvenated.”

Her bond with Naharin has grown and continues to deepen each year.

“We almost don’t have to talk.

He demonstrates once, says one word and it’s all there. Our language is almost without speaking.

We understand one another,” she says. “He’s always changing things and himself. The dancers change around me. I never feel like I’m stuck in the same place.

It’s not boring even for a second.

What preserves the relationship is mostly that I look at him as a miracle, a wonder, a masterpiece. It’s fun for me to work with him... I am moved by him. I see him move and I want to move like that.”

Three will be performed at the Suzanne Dellal Center on December 29, 30 an 31 and on February 25. For more information, visit www.batsheva.co.il.

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