'Hora – The Movie': A movie premiere unlike any other

Ohad Naharin’s ‘Hora – The Movie’ emerged from Batsheva Dance Company’s corona-imposed 2-year grounding.

 A SCENE from ‘Hora – The Movie.’ (photo credit: Roie Shalti)
A SCENE from ‘Hora – The Movie.’
(photo credit: Roie Shalti)

The premiere of Hora – The Movie was unlike any event to take place at the Suzanne Dellal Center prior. Whereas the courtyard of the south Tel Aviv dancer center is usually peppered with young artists in dance clothes, at the unveiling of Ohad Naharin’s new film, celebrities walked on green carpets (an homage to the green hue of the staged version of Hora) decked out in couture surrounded by the flashing bulbs of paparazzi. The film was made in collaboration with Factory 54 as part of the fashion house’s initiative to support cultural endeavors.

Like the premiere, the film itself is unlike anything made before by Batsheva Dance Company or by Ohad Naharin.

“I think a new genre was created here. It’s not dance or film, it’s the combination of the two. It’s a new child,” says cinematographer Roee Shalti, who partnered with Naharin to make Hora – The Movie.

It could be said that this film is a Corona baby, a product of the impact COVID-19 had on our lives. When live performances were tabled, artists around the world searched for ways to continue to connect with audiences and present their work. The digital sphere was the perfect playground for a multitude of virtual artistic experiments, ranging from documentaries to tailor-made-for-screen creations.

During that time, the entire staff of Batsheva Dance Company was in Israel for an unprecedentedly long stretch of time, a rarity for a troupe with a rigorous a touring schedule. In that time, the idea to create films out of existing creations was not only possible, but it also allowed the company to continue connecting with its international audience while off stage.

‘GIRLANDA’  (credit: TOM MARSHAK)‘GIRLANDA’ (credit: TOM MARSHAK)

In 2020, Naharin and Shalti partnered to create Yag – The Movie, which applied cinematic tactics to Naharin’s 1996 chamber creation.

In Yag – The Movie, Naharin and Shalti zoomed in on the six dancers of the piece, as they performed in the company’s studio. The film was screened online for viewers around the world.

Shalti has been in the Batsheva orbit for many years. His life partner, Adi Zlatin, was an unforgettable and dazzling dancer in the company for many years. “Adi brought me in and slowly, slowly, the connection grew,” Shalti said.

Shalti is a familiar face around Batsheva and can often be found circling the studio with a camera in hand. When the invitation to collaborate with Naharin came in, first on Yag – The Movie and then on Hora – The Movie, Shalti was thrilled.

“I think Ohad takes and uses every tool at his disposal, not just filming and editing, but as a choreographer, knows how to use the tools at his disposal in the nicest way I’ve seen. Ohad isn’t only a choreographer, he has a command of filming, editing, directing, music. There is nothing that he doesn’t know and have a command of. I learned from him to connect to what you feel. To take what you know, connect to what you feel and create,” Shalti said.

For their second film, the two opted to transform Hora, a production with a larger cast and of a different nature. Audiences that have seen Hora will remember the vibrant green wash on the stage. In the adaptation of the work for screen, Naharin left the color aside, focusing on a stark black and white scheme.

“On screen, the green immediately goes to a place of green screen. I don’t think it’s a connotation that Ohad wanted. It (the black and white) is a very specific choice that makes you feel a very specific thing,” explains Shalti.

The film will be screened for three days online from March 11-14 and tickets can be purchased just as they would for a performance.

For moore information, contact: https://batsheva.co.il/en/show?tic=en/show/467.