Batsheva — The Young Ensemble

Last night at The Joyce Theater, the curtain dropped at the end of the performance of the deliciously varied Decadance, an always evolving sampling of choreography created by Ohad Naharin, the creative force behind Batsheva, the marvelous Israeli-based dance company. Clapping wildly, I turned to the woman sitting next to me and gushed, “That was amazing, wasn’t it?” She readily agreed, adding that she thinks Batsheva is one of the most exciting dance companies currently performing. This is not hyperbole. There is something incredibly thrilling about how these dancers move, and my guess is that the Gaga technique (created by Naharin) is the reason. There was a group chair dance. They danced with audience members. The variety in the program was dizzying. The dancers that performed last night were part of Batsheva’s Young Ensemble. Once accepted, these young dancers have two precious years to learn and absorb as much as they can. During a fascinating post-performance chat, dancers Yael Ben Ezer and Kelvin Vu — along with rehearsal director, Hillel Kogan — explained the Gaga technique at length. I finally understood it, and have had fun with it since. (As in: Let me climb the subway steps thickly. How can I float down the street? How does it feel to move as the color purple?) For dancers, Gaga is a rich toolbox, and a Gaga class is a full workout. I urge anyone who has not had the pleasure of attending a Batsheva performance to do so as soon as they have the opportunity. And if any dancers using the Gaga Technique read this, by all means leave a comment explaining Gaga. Especially if my explanation falls short.

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