Tag Archive | "Shalosh"

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Batsheva Dance Company: Ohad Naharin’s “Shalosh” (“Three”)

Posted on 15 February 2010 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Video: Batsheva Dance Company in Ohad Naharin’s Three

Five years after its premiere, Ohad Naharin’s Shalosh (Three) still lures audiences to the Suzanne Dellal Center – and judging by the enthusiastic curtain calls last Saturday night, the work continues to captivate crowds.  My preview of this run of Three was originally published in the Jerusalem Post as “Lucky Number ‘Three.'”

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Three by Ohad Naharin.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Addressing a small crowd in the Batsheva Dance Company’s studios during an open rehearsal of Three, artistic director and choreographer Ohad Naharin mused that we frequently revisit books, movies, and music. So why not revisit a dance?

Naharin proposes that Tel Aviv audiences do just that when Three, an evening-length work which premiered in February 2005, returns to the Suzanne Dellal Center this weekend.

Guy Shomroni and Sharon Eyal in Three by Ohad Naharin.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

“The showing of Three in Tel Aviv offers the viewer a renewed meeting with the work, which exists inside a constant process of development since its creation,” Naharin explained in a press release. “This process, in which the work is growing and being refined all the time, is just as meaningful in the company’s work as the process of creation before a premiere.”

At the rehearsal, Naharin elaborated why both of these processes are so vital.  “Since the premiere, the creation went through a lot of changes.  I like to think of the premiere as a birth, since it’s clear to everyone that birth is just one moment, and that afterwards many other things happen,” he reflected.  “There is no doubt that the work changed, improved, among other things because of the meeting with the dancers, who are very creative and musical themselves.  This is one of the reasons that I recommend for people to see the creation twice, at the beginning and after a year or two once it has gone through this process of ripening.”

Three by Ohad Naharin.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

In the case of Three, the work has enjoyed five years of ripening while remaining in Batsheva’s active repertory.  Consequently, original cast members who have stayed with the company as well as newer additions to the troupe have had ample opportunity to develop their interpretation of the dance, calibrating their embodiment of the choreography with previously elusive nuances and subtleties.

Nowhere is this maturation more important and beneficial than in a work such as Three, which in the absence of complex stagecraft and elaborate visual design reveals the movement and the dancers’ performance of it as the main subject.  Lit plainly but effectively by Avi Yona Bueno (Bambi) and clothed in Rakefet Levy’s basic, solid-colored tops and closely fitting cropped pants, the dancers approach Three’s sophisticated, multi-layered movement with a confident straightforwardness.

Three by Ohad Naharin.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

As the title suggests, Three contains three discrete sections, and Naharin’s compositional and musical choices provide each part with a distinctive feel.  In “Bellus,” set to Glenn Gould’s celebrated recording of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations, a simple purity reflective of the music pervades both the dancers’ finely wrought solos and the more pared down, precise group work.  Brian Eno’s spare, evocative Neroli provides the soundscape for “Humus,” which features a flock of the company’s women methodically repositioning their bodies and shifting their spatial formation in an entrancing unison.

“Secus,” the final section, boasts a musical collage that stretches from the offbeat electronic stylings of AGF to the alluring Indian melodies of Kaho Naa Pyar Hai to the resonant harmonies of the Beach Boys.  This adventurously eclectic mix serves as a fitting backdrop for the audaciously quirky choreography.  From total stillness, the dancers burst into flurries of activity, creating a sense of organized chaos both in the space and within their bodies.  Their novel movement often defies description, but it constantly commands attention and inspires awe.

Three by Ohad Naharin.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Three’s extraordinarily rich physical texture can be attributed at least partly to the evolution of Naharin’s movement language, Gaga, in the early 2000s.  Naharin noted that just a few years prior to Three’s premiere, “Gaga became the heart of the daily practice of the company,” and he added, “this common language [Gaga] held the keys to the process” of making Three.  Indeed, the marvelous movement invention and robust embodiment which characterize Three are closely linked to the practice of Gaga, which expands the dancers’ ability to research movement possibilities and awakens their sensitivity to physical sensations.  Five years later, Batsheva’s dancers bring a deepened understanding of Gaga to their performance of this work.  And that’s reason enough to revisit Three for a second or even a third time.

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Phaza Morgana 2009: Batsheva Dance Company in the Desert

Posted on 25 October 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Anaphaza

Ohad Naharin’s Anaphaza.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Two weeks ago, the distinctive sound of dancers drumming on enormous water cooler bottles flooded the courtyard of the Suzanne Dellal Center as the Batsheva Dance Company rehearsed Ohad Naharin’s Anaphaza.  But last week, the studios were eerily silent.  Why?  Batsheva took Anaphaza, water bottles and all, down to the Arava desert for Phaza Morgana 2009.  From October 22-25, the usually placid Timna Park overflowed with audiences and energy as Batsheva and the Idan Raichel Project put on three spectacular shows.

My preview of Phaza Morgana was originally published as “Dance in the Desert” in the Jerusalem Post.

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Dance in the Desert

This weekend, the desert won’t be so deserted.  Crowds of eager spectators are flocking to scenic Timna Park, twenty-five kilometers north of Eilat, for Isrotel Phaza Morgana 2009.  Nestled among the park’s striking rock formations at the foot of the magnificent Solomon’s Pillars, a 3,000 seat amphitheater will host three spectacular programs designed to entice the senses and enliven the spirit.

The world-renowned Batsheva Dance Company has partnered with the Israeli hotel chain Isrotel to present Phaza Morgana on five previous occasions, but this year’s festival promises to be the most sensational event yet.  As in previous seasons, the dance troupe’s large-scale production of Anaphaza forms Phaza Morgana’s centerpiece and maintains a magical appeal.

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A Glimpse into the Gaga Workshop

Posted on 07 April 2009 by deborah friedes


Gaga Intensive. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Nearly every time I have written about Gaga, I have received inquiries from readers about opportunities to study Ohad Naharin’s movement language.   Several people have wondered about attending a Gaga intensive, and now I’m happy to announce that there will indeed be a workshop in Tel Aviv from July 19th-31st, 2009.  Contact [email protected] for more information.

Although I spent most of the summer of 2008 in the U.S., I visited the Gaga workshop for a day and joined participants in their classes.  To get a sense of what might be in store for this year’s Gaga intensive, check out my reflection on last year’s experience, posted below.  My article was originally written for The Winger on July 30, 2008.

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In between packing and tying up various loose ends in Tel Aviv a few weeks ago, I swung by the Suzanne Dellal Center to check out Batsheva’s Gaga intensive workshop.  Eldad Mannheim, who manages the Batsheva Ensemble, had told me it was full, but I don’t think I was prepared for what I saw when I walked into Studio Varda on a Wednesday afternoon.   Dancers had come literally from all over the world – the U.S., Mexico, Italy, Japan, South Korea, and no doubt many other countries – to study Gaga.

The participants had already taken a morning Gaga class by the time I arrived, and now they were busily reviewing material from the daily repertory class in small groups.  On the day I attended the workshop, Danielle and Bosmat first led us through a tight gestural section from Ohad Naharin’s MAX.  After seeing this excerpt not only in MAX but in several performances of Seder, I was quite eager to try my hand(s) at this movement (so to speak).

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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.

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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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