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Batsheva Dance Company Premieres Ohad Naharin’s “Hora”

Posted on 31 May 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

The Batsheva Dance Company in Ohad Naharin’s Hora. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

There’s a certain baseline of excitement when it comes to watching a preview of a world premiere, especially when it’s by a world renowned choreographer like Ohad Naharin.  As you might imagine, that baseline is pretty high.

So I was excited (dare I say thrilled?) to attend the press showing of Ohad Naharin’s Hora shortly before its debut in Jerusalem on May 18th.  And, I’m happy to report, my excitement only grew as I saw snippets of the latest work by Batsheva Dance Company’s artistic director.   Besides being new, Hora feels remarkably fresh (and here I’ll note that my newspaper write-up of the preview was titled “Fresh and Exciting” – two truly fitting adjectives for the dance).

As a dance historian, I was delighted to find more treasures in this showing of Hora besides the basic pleasure of previewing a new, promising work.  Certain elements of Naharin’s dance conjure up prominent images from other choreographers’ masterworks.  The dancers repeatedly step into fifth position with one arm outstretched on a high diagonal and fingers pointing down to the floor – a slight variation on a familiar stance from George Balanchine’s celebrated Serenade. And during one section, as the sounds of Claude Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune filled the theater – transformed by Isao Tomita’s synthesizer – I couldn’t help comparing the bent wrists of the Batsheva dancers to the angled wrists of the dancers in Vaslav Nijinsky’s Faune.

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Israel’s Curtain Up Festival: “Another Op’ning, Another Show” for Contemporary Dance

Posted on 30 November 2008 by Deborah Friedes Galili

(Hillel Kogan’s “Everything” will premiere in the 2008 Curtain Up Festival)

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“Another Op’ning, another show
In Philly, Boston, or Baltimo’
A chance for stage folks to say hello
Another op’ning of another show.”
-Lyrics by Cole Porter for the musical Kiss Me Kate

It’s time for another op’ning of another show – again, and again, and again (and again) – in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem this month. The 2008 Curtain Up Festival will bring 4 programs worth of premieres by independent choreographers to the Suzanne Dellal Center and The Lab (HaMaabada) during December.  Michael Getman, Maya Levy, Rachel Erdos, Tomer Sharabi, Maya Stern, and Hillel Kogan will each present new works, as will the collaborative teams of Sahar Azimi and Odelya Kuperberg; Yossi Berg and Oded Graf; and Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor with the participation of Ronit Ziv.  The entire festival opens at Suzanne Dellal on December 3 with a special presentation of Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak‘s Shaker, which recently toured the United States.

For a listing of this year’s Curtain Up performances in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, please visit Dance In Israel’s Events page.  You can read both Helen Kaye’s preview and Ori J. Lenkinski’s preview of the festival in the Jerusalem Post and view the Suzanne Dellal Center’s Hebrew program of Curtain Up.  Finally, I’ll leave you with “Another Op’ning, Another Show,” which I wrote for my own website on November 20, 2007 after attending last year’s Curtain Up Festival.  Make sure to click below and view the rest of the post; there’s another video to whet your appetite!

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