(Video: Ohad Naharin talks about Gaga at the Guggenheim Museum in New York)
This winter, some lucky dancers are experiencing Gaga for the first time in workshops held by the Batsheva Dance Company during its North American tour. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of trying Gaga – and for those of you who connected to pleasure in a Gaga workshop and are hungry for more – this video gives a taste of the method. Accompanied by two demonstrating dancers, Ohad Naharin introduces some of the concepts and terms used in his movement language.
Related posts on Gaga on Dance In Israel
- “Going Gaga: My Introduction to Gaga Dance Classes” (my overview of Gaga dance classes)
- “Gaga: Ohad Naharin’s Movement Language, in His Own Words” (featuring a quote by Ohad Naharin about Gaga)
- “Gaga: A Foreigner Explores Ohad Naharin’s Movement Language” (a reflection on my experience in Ohad Naharin’s Gaga classes)
- “A Glimpse into the Gaga Workshop” (a look into the Gaga intensive held by Batsheva in the summer)
After noting that there are Gaga classes both for trained dancers and for people who simply want to move, Ohad Naharin delves into the verbal language which he often uses with the dancers. Some of these terms highlight places in the body, such as the “lena.” Situated between the navel and groin, the “lena” is an energetic source which can drive movement. Other words describe physical actions. “Biba,” for example, is the action of stretching away from the sits bones.
In his discussion of sensitive hands and feet, Naharin talks about the bases of the fingers and toes as “luna” or “moons.” He then describes “oba,” which is “the idea of traveling stuff.” To demonstrate this concept, his dancers develop a sense of thickness, allow soft movement to travel throughout their bodies, and play with these contrasting ideas within a more formed vocabulary. Naharin explains that the joining of these ideas enables the dancers to use sets of muscles which are not typically paired.
Naharin ends with two concepts relating to how the dancers contact the floor. “Ashi” involves movement on the outside of the feet which is generated by motion in the knees or pelvis. In “tashi,” the feet are metaphorically glued to the floor, and the movement stems from the ankle joints and the heels.