The real Gaga in Austin soon: Batsheva Dance Company

As trite as it sounds, so much of life is about dance — the hard work, the memorization, trusting people, negotiating, getting hurt, small moments of applause. One of the most powerful dance performances I ever saw was the Batsheva Dance Company at Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2009 with GAD and DC. The dancers were incredible.  This group ranks up there with my creative muse, Twyla Tharp but while Tharp is calculated and mathematical (like a choreographic Bach), Batsheva is emotionally reckless and chaotic  (more like Erik Satie).

Ohad Naharin is the Artistic Director of Batsheva, an Isreal-based company, and he has created a new technique for dance which is gaga — and not in the Lady Gaga kind of way.  Gaga promotes physical awareness over geometry and acceptance of natural movement tendencies instead of strict adherence to pre-approved forms.  (If you are confused about what that means, I understand. In short, they don’t take ballet class every morning)

Batesheva, I admit, can be a bit confusing. When looking at their pieces I often wonder if Naharin didn’t train zombies from “Walking Dead” since the choreography is often  jilted or organically unnatural. But then there are phrases of movement that flow so seamlessly and interconnectedly that you can barely figure out what they are doing exactly – all you know is that it seems “right.”

And that is why Batsheva makes so much sense – equal parts form, absurdity, ambiguity and clarity – they encapsulate a reality that we experience everday: ugly distortations, in just one breath, can yield an apparition we never before would think beautiful.

Batsheva will be in Austin on March 20th at the Bass Concert Hall.

One thought

  1. Joy is so right; Ohad Narahin is an artist with a compelling vision to share.

    If you can get past the bootleg quality of the video, this piece, Anaphasa I think it’s called, will speak to your soul in some fashion. The top comment by trapmaster2000 captures exactly how I felt too.

    What is this piece about? Conformity? Isolation? Futility? Tradition? Interdependence? Of course it’s whatever you take into it, and away from it. One thing is for sure – when I first saw this at Lincoln Center, in 2002 I believe it was, there were about 25-30 performers in that half circle of chairs; nearly twice as many as you see in this video. The result was the most compelling theater I have ever seen in my life.

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