Getting in step in 2011

Catch a rare opportunity to see old masterpieces by Batsheva’s dance masters Ohad Naharin and Sharon Eyal in the coming month.

Dancer 311 (photo credit: courtesy)
Dancer 311
(photo credit: courtesy)
One of the most wonderful qualities the Batsheva Dance Company possesses is a seemingly bottomless barrel of creativity. Ohad Naharin and Sharon Eyal seem to be gifted with fresh ideas. With so much movement being churned out, even the most devout fan can miss a show or two. To usher in the first 30 days of 2011, Batsheva will present a rare opportunity to catch up on older works their audiences may have missed. The main company and the Ensemble will perform four works over the next four weeks in Tel Aviv, with one performance in Beersheba. And as the artists of Batsheva are the busiest jetsetters in Israel, there’s no time like the present to see what they have to offer.
The four pieces are Kamuyot, Three, Max and Hora.
Kamuyot premiered in 2003 and is the oldest and perhaps most successful of the four. Originally created as a children’s piece, Kamuyot is performed by the dancers of the Ensemble in a theater in the round style. It has been presented throughout Israel and has been produced twice by the Riksteatern in Sweden.
As indicated in its title, Three is made up of three parts: “Bellus,” “Humus” and “Secus.” It was first shown in 2005 and has been presented internationally since.
Max is a more intimate expression of Naharin’s genius. The piece is a clean, clear representation of the physicality Batsheva is known for. For Max, Naharin thought up a new language, which his cast of 10 dancers learned during the creative process.
Hora is Naharin’s latest piece. It is danced by half of the company (11 dancers). The work was coproduced by Montpellier Danse 2010 and the Lincoln Center Festival and premiered at the Jerusalem Theater in May of 2009. Bold green lighting, designed by Avi Yona Bueno, gives Hora a fresh, lively feel.
In the past 20 years, Naharin has brought Batsheva into the international spotlight. His revolutionary training technique, Gaga, has intrigued and enhanced dancers around the world.
Naharin’s master classes abroad are always jammed packed, with waiting lists extending into the hundreds. Each year, “gaga ambassadors” travel around the globe to pass on Naharin’s newest teachings.
On stage, his uncanny openness, intelligence and chutzpah have been matched by none of his contemporaries. Each one of Naharin’s works compels the audience to think beyond their preconceived notions of what dance or performance can do. It can easily be argued that Naharin is responsible for putting Israel on the dance map.
Batsheva has already announced that the company will premiere a new work by their master in June of 2011. And while that may seem like a long wait for their gaggle of adoring followers, the machine that is Batsheva will be working overtime during the next six months. Immediately following its repertory crash course, the company will head off to Monte Carlo.
In the final days of 2010, the company performed their newest work, Bill, by Sharon Eyal as well as Kyr/Zina by Naharin. Bill is a highly aesthetic work, powerful and characteristically intense as all of Eyal’s works. Kyr/Zina is a reworking of many pieces Naharin choreographed as far back as 1990. In 2010, he refurbished sections from the very first pieces he created for the company and transferred them to the young and superb dancers of the Ensemble.
If you have never seen Batsheva, January is the great time to get acquainted with a range of their works. And if you are a fan who let a piece or two slip through the cracks, seize the moment to get caught up in 2011.
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