Sadeh21 World Premiere at Israel Festival 2011

Photos from rehearsals for Sadeh21/Photo: Gadi Dagon

Defiantly abstract and intensely emotional, Sadeh21 by Ohad Naharin with collaboration of the Batsheva Dance Company dancers made its world premiere at the Israel Festival 2011. The curtain opens on an empty stage and the set revels in simplicity: three white walls, with a white floor between them. A female dancer enters the space with a solo that seems almost spontaneous, emerging from deep internal urges. One after another, dancers occupy this vast space alone, each solo a paean to individuality, the trajectory of movement corresponding to the trajectory of the imagination.

Lone individuals on a bare stage, the white wall a long scroll of unwritten history, the shape of air transformed by presence and movement; dancing alone, as we are alone, each in our own mind. Each moment – leonine, delicate, muscular, rough, slow or frenetic – abstract and expressive; fragments of narrative flashing on the consciousness.  The experience is riveting.

It is a daring work, a sustained vision unfolding over time, unafraid to confront silence, emptiness and the full impact of bare emotions. The soundtrack, lighting and costumes – created respectively by Maxim Waratt, Avi Yona Bueno (Bambi) and Ariel Cohen – all work together to create a subtle, nuanced atmosphere in which absence (of sound, light and color) is as strong an element as presence. Much of the soundtrack is hushed, barely perceptible sound, pierced with sequences of complete silence. There are several significant episodes in direct contrast to the overall effect, with expectations set up only to be confounded, as when a melodic sequence seems to herald a sense of healing, or resolution which is then fragmented once more.

Photos from rehearsals for Sadeh21/Photo: Gadi Dagon

Meaning or a system of rules emerges from events that seem random, as when a dancer stands at the front of the stage, reciting numbers from one to five in different configurations. Yet any system of meaning or possible narrative is confronted with the unexpected: a sudden change of rhythm, direction or intention that defies simple interpretation. One can identify different relationships of the individual to the group, yet the emphasis here is as much on “different” as “relationship.” The costumes convey a sense of simplicity with a touch of unexpected extravagance as tank tops and shorts in muted colors are interspersed with purple velvet or neon green satin, a slice of magenta, a flash of turquoise or a cluster of male dancers in black taffeta ball gowns.

Sadeh21 is a fertile field of contrasts, an enthralling work. An abundance of colorful associations released onstage in an epiphany of energy, a stark piercing solitude diving into a black abyss of terrible dissonance with joyful abandon, the exquisite beauty of this moment, and this moment, and this moment….

By: Ohad Naharin
Batsheva Dancers Collaborated in the creative process
Lighting and Stage Design: Avi Yona Boeno (Bambi)
Soundtrack Design: Maxim Waratt
Costume Design: Ariel Cohen
Video subtitle Design: Raz Friedman
Batsheva Company Dancers / Creative Collaborators:
Shachar Biniamini, Matan David, Iyar Elezra, Ariel Freedman, Shani Garfinkel,
Chen-Wei Lee, Doug Letheren, Eri Nakamura, Bosmat Nossan, Ori Moshe Ofri,
Rachael Osborne, Shamel Pitts, Ian Robinson, Michal Sayfan, Idan Sharabi,
Guy Shomroni, Bobbi Smith, Tom Weinberger, Adi Zlatin, Erez Zohar


  1. […] The Batsheva Ensemble will perform Kamuyot and Deca’le, all the explosive energy of Batsheva productions in a more innocent, light-hearted version for kids – it’s fun, fun, fun & almost sold out – so get ‘em while you can, click here.  Ohad Naharin’s Sadeh21, which premiered at the Israel Festival, will also be performed during the holiday, link here for tickets  and read more about this defiantly abstract and intensely emotional work here. […]

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