Joining Forces

For Adi Salant, becoming co-artistic director of the Batsheva Dance Company is ‘a big responsibility’ that she is happy to take on.

dancer370 (photo credit: Courtesy PR)
(photo credit: Courtesy PR)
Like many Israeli teenagers, Adi Salant, when she was 18, packed a bag with a bottle of water and some dance clothes and made her way to the Batsheva Dance Company studios in the Suzanne Dellal Center. She joined the throngs of hopeful young dancers wishing to find a place for themselves among the Batsheva Ensemble or young company. However, unlike all those other talented youngsters, today, nearly two decades later, Salant has just been promoted to co-artistic director of the internationally acclaimed troupe.
“I got to Batsheva totally excited to start working professionally with the ensemble,” said Salant of her first day at Batsheva. “At Batsheva, it’s right to work; class and then the repertoire that you have to start to perform. The Ensemble is intense. Dancers are usually there for two years so the turnover is very rapid. You come and work a full day and get right to it.”
Salant had spent many moons in preparation for that fateful day, having begun dancing at the Bat Dor School as a six-year-old. Once in the system, Salant spent two years in the Ensemble then five in the main company.
Upon leaving the company in 2001, Salant began the next stage of her relationship with Batsheva as an assistant to Ohad Naharin.
She continued to work with the company in this way, teaching repertoire alongside Naharin to companies abroad, even while she lived in Denmark. During her time in Europe, Salant tried her hand at choreography. Though she enjoyed this pursuit, Salant recognizes that for now, her own creations will be transferred to the back burner.
In 2009, Salant returned to Tel Aviv. Her decision was prompted by many factors, mainly a strong desire to “come home” as she puts it. “It was a long time that I was abroad, and I felt that if I didn’t come back now, [later] it might be too late. I felt that it was the right time to make the change.
I had my first daughter so I started to miss home a lot. I was always in touch with Ohad. Then the opportunity came to come back to be the assistant to the artistic director and everything fell into place.”
Last month, the directors of Batsheva, namely artistic director Naharin, announced publicly that Salant would be taking up the reins as co-artistic director. Salant’s official title had been assistant artistic director to Naharin for several seasons prior to this promotion.
Naomi Bloch-Fortis, who co-directed the troupe with Naharin for over a decade, left the position open in 2009.
Under the Fortis/Naharin team, Batsheva rose from a local body to a world-class sensation. When Fortis moved on, the company did not rush to replace her. Instead, it continued to function, growing and exploring new territory each year. It would appear that Batsheva was waiting for the right someone to come along, and that that someone is Salant.
“I’m very excited about this position because it’s another level of the relationship and collaboration with Ohad. It’s another thing we are doing together and it shows... faith in my abilities. We are continuing to grow together. It means a lot that he believes in me. It’s an honor and a big responsibility that I am happy to take on,” said Salant.
Currently, Batsheva is working on a new piece by Naharin, which is set to premier in April 2013. The Ensemble will also premier a new evening in 2013, featuring two works. London powerhouse Hofesh Shechter will set his award-winning piece Uprising on the young dancers and former Batsheva dancer Daniel Agami will create a new work. In addition, both the main company and the Ensemble continue to perform repertoire by Naharin and Sharon Eyal in Israel and abroad.
For more information about Batsheva Dance Company, visit