Tag Archive | "Deca Dance"

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Invitation to a Lecture at Emory University on American and Israeli Dance

Posted on 20 February 2010 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Video: Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet performing Ohad Naharin’s Decadance

If you’re in Atlanta, Georgia – or if you know someone in Atlanta – here’s a heads up:

I’m happy to announce that I am speaking in the Emory Friends of Dance Lecture Series on Wednesday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time).  My talk, Foreign Exchange: American and Israeli Dance from Martha Graham to Ohad Naharin, will precede a performance by Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet of Ohad Naharin’s Decadance.  I won’t be in Atlanta in person, but I will be speaking via Skype and have an exciting presentation prepared!

Cedar Lake performing Ohad Naharin’s Decadance.  Photo by Paul B. Goode.

Here’s the official blurb about my lecture:

Forty years ago, Israel’s premiere dance company imported works by top American choreographers.  Now cutting-edge American troupes like Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet are drawing crowds with choreography by Israeli artists.  In this lecture, dance scholar Deborah Friedes Galili explores the dynamic relationship between American and Israeli dance and traces the meteoric rise of Israeli contemporary dance.  This lecture will be presented live from Israel via webcam prior to the performance by Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet.

Cedar Lake performing Ohad Naharin’s Decadance.  Photo by Paul B. Goode.

My lecture is free and open to the public, so if you’re in Atlanta, I hope you will come listen in the Chase Lobby at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, 1700 N. Decatur Road.  I will speak for one half hour, and then there will be a question and answer session.  Please let others know about this event as well!

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Batsheva Dance Company: From Graham to Gaga

Posted on 21 September 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Ohad Naharin's "Hora"
Rachael Osborne and Iyar Elezra in Ohad Naharin’s Hora. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

I first wrote the article below for the Forward last winter, when the Batsheva Dance Company toured North America in three large-scale productions.  Now, right before New York audiences catch Ohad Naharin’s duet B/olero in City Center’s popular Fall for Dance festival, I decided it was time to revisit this piece.

Fall for Dance features an array of internationally-renowned companies, and while Batsheva has boasted a world-class reputation since its inception, its style and structure have changed dramatically over the last few decades.  This article, originally titled “Going Gaga for Batsheva in America,” traces Batsheva’s transition from a strongly American-influenced company to the more distinctive troupe which has captivated contemporary audiences.

Going Gaga for Batsheva in America

Since its first tour of the United States in 1970, Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company has won over American crowds and critics alike with its energetic approach to dance.  At the time, it was, perhaps, a novelty: an Israeli group performing primarily American repertory with unbridled verve and vigor.  But in the past 18 years, the company has become a phenomenon of a different sort.  The Batsheva Dance Company, which is currently crisscrossing North America, is widely recognized as one of the world’s top dance ensembles, featuring audacious choreography with inventive movement.

Founded in 1964 with the financial backing of Baroness Batsheva de Rothschild, Batsheva began as a repertory company in the American mold.  Martha Graham, a founding mother of American modern dance and a beneficiary of de Rothschild’s patronage, served as artistic adviser.  The Israeli dancers trained intensively in Graham’s technique and channeled both their physical power and their emotional passion into some of the choreographer’s most acclaimed works. With many of Graham’s disciples contributing to Batsheva’s repertory, the Tel Aviv-based company was part of American modern dance’s family; New York Times critic Clive Barnes even called Batsheva’s members “the Israeli children of American dance” upon seeing the company’s American debut.

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Ohad Naharin in America: “Out of Focus” Documentary

Posted on 27 April 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

(Video: Excerpt from Tomer Heymann’s Out of Focus)

More and more video cameras are making their way into dance studios as choreographers seek to document their work.  Usually the footage remains in personal or company archives, unseen by outsiders.  But the film Out of Focus offers the public a peek inside the process of Ohad Naharin, artistic director of Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company.

In 2007, filmmaker Tomer Heymann focused his lens on Naharin as the choreographer coached New York’s Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet in Deca Dance.  Besides close up views of the choreography, Heymann’s Out of Focus includes interview clips with Naharin.  With bits of conversation set against the sometimes bustling backdrop of the studio, the discussion feels particularly fresh, open, and honest.

While the Batsheva Dance Company recently displayed Naharin’s repertory on tour in the U.S., Heyman’s behind-the-scenes documentary has been seen primarily  in Israel.  Now, though, Out of Focus is coming to New York.  92YTribeca’s screening on April 30th will include a special appearance by Heymann himself.

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“MAX” – Connecting to Ohad Naharin’s Choreography

Posted on 20 February 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

(Video: A trailer for BAM’s presentation of Batsheva Dance Company in Ohad Naharin’s MAX)

This is an excerpt from “Two Views of Batsheva: Ohad Naharin’s Furo and MAX,” which was published on The Winger on May 17, 2008.  The Batsheva Dance Company will perform MAX in Santa Barbara (Feb. 24), San Diego (Feb. 26), Los Angeles (Feb. 28 – Mar. 1), and Brooklyn, NY (Mar. 4-7).

* * *

During the brief blackouts in Ohad Naharin’s MAX, I quickly tore my eyes away from the stage to steal glances at my friend Nitzan.  Each time I caught variations of the same expression on his face: eyes wide with amazement and mouth stretched into an even wider grin.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit of a “dance dork” (a few of my friends and I threw around this term frequently during graduate school). With my penchant for dance history and analysis, I’m probably not the typical audience member.  Give me a brilliantly-crafted piece and I will fall in love, counting the ways in which the choreography captures my attention and my affection.

Love at first sight is possible in the arena of dance, but sometimes even the most excellent work takes a bit of time to win over my heart fully.  Such was the case with Ohad Naharin’s MAX.  I first saw MAX in December, and due to fatigue, I didn’t take in the dance with the freshest eyes.  When I re-read my files before this second viewing, I saw that I had taken only a few hasty notes which focused on extremely satisfying sections marked by fine compositional structure.  But after tonight’s performance of MAX, I’m in love. At least in my eyes, the work as a whole is indeed brilliant.

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Ohad Naharin’s “Deca Dance” in Israel: A Cycle Completed

Posted on 27 January 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili


(Video: The Batsheva Dance Company in Deca Dance)

Whenever possible, I try to publish my writings from last year in conjunction with a related event that’s happening now.  As the Batsheva Dance Company embarks on an extensive North American tour and takes Ohad Naharin’s Deca Dance on the road, it seems like the right moment to re-post my writing on the work.

I first published this article as “A Cycle Completed: Deca Dance in Israel” on The Winger on July 11, 2008.

* * *

It’s fitting that I saw the Batsheva Ensemble perform the latest version of Ohad Naharin’s Deca Dance at the Suzanne Dellal Center last week.  You see, Deca Dance is the piece that drew me here to Israel.  I wrote my Fulbright grant proposal having only seen the Batsheva Dance Company perform an earlier incarnation of this work (albeit 3 times).   I hadn’t seen any of Naharin’s other dances, nor had I seen any other Israeli companies.   Now – 4 years after I last saw Deca Dance, 9 and 1/2 months after landing in Israel, 2 days after finishing the term of my Fulbright grant, and 90-some dance concerts later – I feel I have come to the end of a cycle.

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