Israel Festival 2011: Batsheva Dance Company Premieres Ohad Naharin’s Sadeh21

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Sadeh21/Photo: Gadi Dagon

“But let’s not stop dancing” Ohad Naharin, April 13, 2011

The Batsheva Dance Company will premiere Sadeh21, a new dance work by Ohad Naharin, opening the Israel Festival in its jubilee year with performances on May 25 – 27, 2011.

Allusive and elusive as ever, the work invites our curiosity, engaging the viewer intellectually and emotionally without limiting the imagination. The name suggests possibilities: the word sadeh in Hebrew means field, and the possibilities of associations from nature, religion, literature, art, physics – or any number of fields – seems endless. Yet that is just the starting point.

A first view of Sadeh21 in the Batsheva studio this morning reveals a powerful, intricate work, performed by the entire company of twenty dancers – each fully present as an individual, yet together forming and reforming, creating different entities and identities. Even in moments when only one dancer is on the floor, moving slowly – so much is happening that it is a constant challenge to take it all in.

In every moment we are confronted by the individual – the body as locus of internal contradictions, ambiguity and constant change in which we try to invent continuity, coherence; meaning. Yet the group exerts its own force. The tension between self and other, in a couple, trio or group, is a central element in the work, mesmerizing and thought provoking as they move in and out of different configurations.

There is no narrative, yet one can create infinite narratives in this work. Naharin very wisely chooses not to narrate, explain or illustrate. He presents the work through the dancers, who are also deeply involved in the process of its creation. Through Gaga, the movement language developed by Naharin, they have a way of entering the work together, to create and reflect on the process.

The stage and lighting for Sadeh21 will be designed by Bambi – Avi-Yona Bueno – who has worked with Naharin for over twenty years, creating the lighting for all of Naharin’s works. The costumes are styled by Ariel Cohen, a dancer and artist, who is creating the look of the costumes from “ready-mades” – clothing collected by the dancers, Naharin and Cohen. The sound track is created by Maxim Warat, a close collaborator of Ohad Naharin for many years.

Sadeh21/Photo: Gadi Dagon

This morning in the studio there were moments of ferocity – Bacchante-like female dancers in a frenzy of movement over the body of a male dancer – and moments of tenderness in the simplest of human gestures, holding hands. Solo sequences reveling in freedom, limbs stretched out wide or drawn into a vortex, energy emerging from within the body or drawn in from the universe, a hand held up as if to ward off danger – eyes wary; or arms stretched out wide in welcome or celebration. Dance references are in abundance, fleeting images referencing ballet or folk dance, a club groove and even a rather solemn male chorus line. And that was just a glimpse of the work.

Sadeh21 by Ohad Naharin
Performed by the Batsheva Dance Company: Rachael Osborne, Iyar Elezra, Shachar Binyamini, Shani Garfinkel, Matan David, Tom Weinberger, Erez Zohar, Adi Zlatin, Chen-Wei Lee, Doug Letheren, Bosmat Nossan, Michal Sayfan, Bobbi Smith, Ori Moshe Ofri, Shamel Pitts, Ariel Freedman, Ian Robinson, Guy Shomroni, Idan Sharabi.
Stage and lighting design: Avi-Yona Bueno
Costumes: Ariel Cohen

Photos: Gadi Dagon

Performances:
May 25 – 27, 2011 at the Israel Festival, Jerusalem Theatre
May 31 – June 4, 2011 at the Herzliya Performing Arts Centre
June 5, 2011 at the Modi’in Performing Arts Centre
June 9 – 11, 2011 at the Suzanne Dellal Centre, Tel Aviv
June 13, 2011 at the Carmiel Performing Arts Centre

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