Tag Archive | "Gaga dance"

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Gaga for Dancers: From the Gaga Intensive to New Open Classes

Posted on 27 August 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Gaga Intensive

Dancers at the Gaga Intensive 2009.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

I’ve been studying Gaga for the better part of two years, but the vast majority of the classes I have taken fall under the rubric of “Gaga People,” Gaga classes which are open for participants regardless of any previous dance experience.  There’s something magical about these classes.  It’s not often that you walk into a dance studio full of people ranging in age from their early 20s to their 70s, some of whom have performed professionally and some of whom simply love to move but have never taken a dance class before.

Yet there was also something special about taking Gaga classes with 120 other dancers during the Gaga Intensive this summer.  “Gaga Dancers” classes challenged me to more thoroughly explore the underlying concepts of Ohad Naharin’s movement language and enabled me to research these ideas while connecting more consciously to my body’s knowledge of ballet and modern dance forms.  I wasn’t just working from my lena; I was working my arabesque from my lena.  I was floating while doing changements, exploring biba while doing developés, and sensing my luna while doing pliés and relevés.

I’m happy to announce that starting on September 8th, Gaga classes designed specifically for dancers will be opened to the public in Tel Aviv.  Like the “Gaga People” classes, these will take place at the Suzanne Dellal Center.  If you have previous dance training, you can get your groove on at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.  And I’m also happy to announce that starting soon, I’ll be the one working the door!  For more details, please see the Events calendar.

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Before open “Gaga Dancers” classes start, I wanted to share another glimpse of last month’s Gaga Intensive.  I first wrote the article below, “Learning to Speak Gaga,” for the Jerusalem Post. To read what other dancers thought about their Gaga experience, check out my previous post, “Reflections on the Gaga Intensive 2009.”

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Learning to Speak Gaga

Amidst the waves of tourists arriving in Israel this summer was one particularly diverse group, gathering, from around the globe, in Tel Aviv.  They came from the United States, Canada, Mexico, England, Belgium, France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Holland, Denmark, Italy, Greece, Cameroon, Japan and Korea.  Like some other foreign visitors, they were eager to experience an unfamiliar culture and learn a new language. But these weren’t typical tourists and they weren’t planning to study Hebrew.  They are dancers.  And they came to immerse themselves in Gaga.

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Ohad Naharin on Gaga (Video)

Posted on 16 February 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

(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

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Gaga Class November 2008&h=57&w=100&zc=1&q=90

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Gaga: A Foreigner Explores Ohad Naharin’s Movement Language

Posted on 03 January 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Gaga Class November 2008

(Photo: Gaga class with Ohad Naharin, center, in November 2008.  I am “connecting to pleasure” on the left.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.)

(I originally wrote this post for The Winger on May 4, 2008, under the title, “Going Gaga All Over Again.”)

When I took my first Gaga class in fall of 2007, I was like an infant, tentatively trying out a new way of moving while also beginning to learn Hebrew. Everything was foreign to me, and processing a different framework for dancing in an unfamiliar language was a challenge.  Thankfully, my Gaga teachers were willing to pepper their instructions with English, and my Hebrew tutor helped me learn the frequently used terms which I wrote down after lessons.

Like a child, I steadily gained more mastery of my body and built up my communication skills; I acquired a physical language and, at least partially, the accompanying verbal language.  It’s not always easy to see progress in language acquisition – but when I successfully took two Gaga classes taught almost entirely in Hebrew on April 22, 2008, I was floating both figuratively and literally (to float, or “latzoof,” is one of the most common directions in Gaga).

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Gaga: Ohad Naharin’s Movement Language, in His Own Words

Posted on 28 December 2008 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Gaga Class with Ohad Naharin

(Photo: Gaga class in November 2008 led by Ohad Naharin, center.  Photo by Gadi Dagon, courtesy of Yossi Naharin.)

While I love sharing my perspective in this blog, I also want artists’ voices to be heard on Dance In Israel. Sometimes you will literally hear dance professionals speak in my podcasts, while at other times I will quote them in writing.

I have already posted one article about Gaga, the movement language developed by Batsheva Dance Company’s artistic director Ohad Naharin.  Given its significance in the dance world and my own interest in Gaga, I will feature more articles on this subject – but before I proceed with my experiences in Gaga, I want Ohad’s voice to take center stage.  Ohad Naharin wrote the text below in March 2008, and it is here on Dance In Israel courtesy of Yossi Naharin.

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“Gaga challenges multi layer tasks. It is fundamental for gaga users to be available for this challenge.

At once we, the users, can be involved in moving slowly through space while a quick action in our body is in progress. Those dynamics of movement are only a portion of what else might go on at the same time.

We are letting our mind observe and analyze many things at once, we are aware of the connection between effort and pleasure, we connect to the “sense of plenty of time”, especially when we move fast, we are aware of the distance between our body parts, we are aware of the friction between flesh and bones, we sense the weight of our body parts, we are aware of where we hold unnecessary tension, we let go only to bring life and efficient movement to where we let go…
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Going Gaga: My Intro to Gaga Dance Classes

Posted on 25 November 2008 by Deborah Friedes Galili

(Batsheva Dance Company in Ohad Naharin's "Three" - photo by Gadi Dagon)

(Batsheva Dance Company in Ohad Naharin's "Three" - photo by Gadi Dagon)

A year after beginning my study of Gaga, the movement language developed by Ohad Naharin, it seems hard to believe that I once lived without it.  Gaga is profoundly influencing my artistry, widening my range of movement and fostering a greater confidence in my ability to improvise.  It is also now a major focus of my research and writing.

I wrote “Going Gaga” in November 2007 for my first blog and edited it for Dance In Israel.  To see a listing of Gaga classes, please check Dance In Israel’s Events page.  I’ll leave you to your reading – right now I’m off to Ohad’s monthly class!

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After making my initial rounds of the Tel Aviv studios to sample modern and contemporary dance classes, I decided it was time to immerse myself in the training method that is most unique to Israel: Gaga (גאגא).  Gaga was developed by the Batsheva Dance Company’s artistic director, Ohad Naharin, and it evolved not only through his work with professional dancers but through experimentation with non-dancers; indeed, when a non-dancing employee of Batsheva expressed a desire to dance in the late 1990s, Naharin began biweekly classes for her and several other employees. The Batsheva company now trains daily in Gaga, and since 2001, members of the general public have been able to practice Gaga in open classes.

Gaga Dance Classes: The Logistics

Currently, there are hour-long classes six days a week at the Suzanne Dellal Center taught by dancers who have worked with Naharin; on some days, there are two or three classes.  Most people who attend these classes are not aspiring dancers with previous training.  Instead, they are members of the general public who found out about Gaga through word-of-mouth.

People interested in practicing Gaga must commit to an introductory month. For a very reasonable fee – 220 shekels (roughly $60, depending on the exchange rate) – beginners can take as many classes as they would like, and they also gain free admission into the special monthly class offered by Ohad Naharin himself.  This month-long trial period allows novices like me to absorb the philosophy of Gaga, receiving information from the rotating roster of teachers and observing the changes in our bodies and movement over time.  After the first month, practitioners can decide to take one class per week (220 shekels for a month) or unlimited classes (330 shekels for a month).

What is Gaga?

Now you have some background, but what exactly is Gaga?   At my first class, I was given a double-sided paper with more detailed information.  Here is an excerpt from the English translation:

“Gaga is a new way of gaining knowledge and self awareness through your body.  Gaga is a new way for learning and strengthening your body, adding flexibility, stamina and agility while lightening the senses and imagination.  Gaga raises awareness of physical weaknesses, awakens numb areas, exposes physical fixations and offers ways for their elimination.  Gaga elevates instinctive motion, links conscious and subconscious movement.  Gaga is an experience of freedom and pleasure. In a simple way, a pleasant place, comfortable close, accompanied by music, every person with himself and others.” (Ohad Naharin, Gaga introduction sheet) Continue Reading

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