Tag Archive | "Sharon Eyal"

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Batsheva Dance Company Premieres Sharon Eyal’s “Bill”

Posted on 07 May 2010 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Video: Sharon Eyal’s Bill, in process

“Magic!”

Spurred by this shriek, the 21 dancers of the Batsheva Dance Company spring into action.  They arch their backs, splay their hands, shoot their legs towards the ceiling, and vault high into the air.  Amidst layers of throbbing rhythms, punctuated by more guttural cries and sharp claps, the dancers organize and reorganize themselves into constantly changing groupings.  The ebb and flow of one large group’s rocking steps provides a mesmerizing baseline for a smaller ensemble’s shape shifting, which in turn sets off one man’s virtuosic, almost mechanical movement.

Sharon Eyal’s Bill.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

It is choreographer Sharon Eyal who has cast this spell, which goes by the name of Bill and is the Batsheva Dance Company’s newest production. Like Batsheva’s artistic director, Ohad Naharin, Eyal is currently celebrating her twenty-year anniversary with the company.  She joined the troupe as a teenager and quickly captivated crowds while performing many memorable parts.  Now offstage in the role of Batsheva’s house choreographer, Eyal is keeping the audience’s attention with her unique creations.

Bobbi Smith and Iyar Elezra in Sharon Eyal’s Bill.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Of her latest work, Eyal explained in a press release, “I came to Bill with a very clear concept.  It was easy for me to explain what I see and imagine; I could verbalize the work in a very precise way.”  Working with the full company and with her seasoned team of collaborators – co-creator Guy Bachar, soundtrack designer Ori Lichtik, and lighting designer Avi Yona Bueno (Bambi) – Eyal brought her vision to life.

Reflecting further, Eyal added, “I feel I am in an endless process, and the creation Bill continues my previous works, Makarova Kabisa and Killer Pig.”  While Bill certainly shares the masterful maneuvering of large groups, the looping of repeated movements, and the extreme physicality that characterize the choreographer’s earlier works, it is also marked by a highly distinctive look.  The dancers are outfitted in full-length, skin-toned unitards, and their hair is similarly colored; meanwhile, their eyes all glint the same shade of light blue thanks to tinted contact lenses. Eyal notes, “The uniform clothing, the skin color and the identical eyes unite the whole group and bring out the soul and the special physicality of each and every dancer.”

Sharon Eyal’s Bill.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Besides the striking visual effect of the dancers’ costumes, Bill is filled with vivid images. Five dancers prowl on all fours like predatory creatures, surging forward and then sinking back onto their haunches. Three women assemble numerous variations on a heart shape using their assorted body parts, backed by a sea of dancers who form miniature hearts with their fingers, hands, and forearms. An enormous crowd clustered center stage suddenly disperses in all directions with a burst of angular jumps, creating the effect of a firework exploding midair.

And then there are the seemingly infinite permutations of group formations. In tight clumps or spread-out packs, and in trios or as a 21-member strong mass, the dancers travel across the stage with unison stepping patterns and more quirkily styled, technically complex movements.  Sometimes, watching Bill is like observing the inner workings of a finely-tuned mechanical watch; each person, and each small group, is necessary for the whole to function. When these dancers come together, painting the entire space with their collective movement, there is indeed a sense of magic.

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The Batsheva Dance Company performs Sharon Eyal’s Bill at the Suzanne Dellal Center on May 7-8 and 10-14 before moving to Herzliya on May 15.  For more information about tickets and future performances, visit Batsheva’s website.

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Israeli Dance: What’s Happening in November

Posted on 01 November 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

November is a month of festivals and foreign tours.  For more details about these events and other performances, visit Dance In Israel’s Calendars.

At Home

Modern Feeling

Lee In Soo’s Modern Feeling is part of Tel Aviv Dance.  Photo courtesy of Ora Lapidot.

Tel Aviv Dance 2009 is in full swing at the Suzanne Dellal Center and the Opera House.  Still to come are companies and choreographers from France, Spain, Korea, and Israel.  Check out the lineup in Tel Aviv Dance 2009 Mixes Global and Local Dance and get to the theater from now until November 13 to catch some of the best international dance around.

Walking inside Water

Sharon Vazanna’s Walking Inside Water.  Photo by Amina Husberg.

While international performers are taking over the main stage at Suzanne Dellal, the center’s more intimate Yerushalmi Theater is hosting a mixed bill by emerging Israeli choreographers.  On November 6, Odelia Kuperberg presents the trio Without Blinking, while Sharon Vazanna premieres her solo Walking Inside Water. Cuban-born Lazaro Godoy joins the program with his striking Jugo de Limon.

Noa Dar’s Us premieres at Curtain Up 2009.  Photo by Tamar Lamm.

Soon after Tel Aviv Dance finishes, another major festival will take its place on Suzanne Dellal’s stage.  Haramat Masach, or Curtain Up, is an annual platform for premieres by Israeli choreographers.  To celebrate the Suzanne Dellal Center’s 20th anniversary, this year the festival invited established choreographers to create new works and host fresh creations by emerging artists.  Curtain 1 opens with Nimrod Freed plus Anat Grigorio and Dafi Altbeb; Curtain 2 pairs Vertigo Dance Company’s Noa Wertheim with Elad Shechter; Curtain 3 boasts Yasmeen Godder and Iris Erez; Curtain 4 includes Tel Aviv Dance Company’s Yaara Dolev and Michael Miler; Curtain 5 features Noa Dar with Maya Brinner and Irad Mazliah; and Curtain 6 closes with the team of Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor as well as Noa Shadur.  The festival ends with a special performance of the Inbal Pinto Dance Company in Trout. Check back soon for more posts on Curtain Up 2009, and see below for articles about individual choreographers who will be participating in this year’s festival.

Video: Rina Badash’s Revealed Under the Covers

Although Curtain Up dominates the dance programming in late November, there are still a few dance performances to be found outside this platform.  On November 26, Tmuna Theater will host Rina Badash’s Revealed Under the Covers, a multidisciplinary work featuring a solo dancer, live music, and video art projected on four screens.

Abroad

"MAX" by Ohad Naharin

Ohad Naharin’s MAX. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

After presenting Ohad Naharin’s Hora and Mamootot at home during the Tel Aviv Dance festival, the Batsheva Dance Company is packing its bags for a European tour.  Audiences in the Netherlands, France, and Germany can catch performances of Naharin’s Mamootot, Deca Dance, MAX, and Sharon Eyal’s Love. Want to read more about these works?  Take a look at Mamootot: Challenging the Performer-Spectator Divide, Ohad Naharin’s Deca Dance in Israel: A Cycle Completed, and MAX: Connecting to Ohad Naharin’s Choreography.

Ohad Naharin in Gaga Class

Ohad Naharin teaching Gaga in Tel Aviv.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Meanwhile in New York, Ohad Naharin will receive one of the 2009 Dance Magazine Awards on November 9.  During his trip stateside, he will teach master classes in Gaga at Peridance in New York City from November 9-10.  Hear some of the choreographer’s thoughts on Gaga in Ohad Naharin on Gaga (Video).

Noa Wertheim's "Mana"

Noa Wertheim’s Mana. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Further south in Washington D.C., Vertigo Dance Company will perform Noa Wertheim’s new Mana at the General Assembly of The Jewish Federations of North America (the GA).  This year the GA will meet from November 8-10, and Vertigo will perform at the opening plenary which also features a speech by President Barack Obama.  Israeli audiences can see Mana when Vertigo performs at Curtain Up in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Singular Sensation

Yasmeen Godder’s Singular Sensation.  Photo by Tamar Lamm.

Yasmeen Godder’s dancers are also headed to Europe for more performances of Singular Sensation in Belgium and Germany.  Learn more about the choreographer in Close Encounters Series: Yasmeen Godder.

For Young Dancers in Israel

Over the next several months, a select group of young aspiring dancers will develop their artistry in weekly Gaga classes and repertory workshops taught by members of the Batsheva company and staff.  Want to be part of this project?   If you’re between the ages of 14 and 22, you can audition on November 10 at Studio Varda in the Suzanne Dellal Center.  For more information, contact Michal at [email protected].

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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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Israeli Dance: What’s Happening in October

Posted on 06 October 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili


Video: Maria Kong’s Fling

As usual, there are lots of dance performances happening in Israel’s dance scene this month – but as I looked at the calendar, I realized that October is packed with several extra-special events.  Below are some teasers for premieres, festivals, foreign tours, online contests, and more.  For additional information about the following events and other performances, please visit the Dance In Israel Calendars.

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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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