The performance was held at the Jewish-Arab Community Center in Jaffa. The stage was their indoor basketball court, and the audience sat on spectator benches all around the court eliminating the concepts of on and off stage.
The performance, which stared around twenty dancers, was just mesmerising. The Young Ensemble consists of a troupe of extremely talented dancers who come to Israel from all over the world to train under Ohad Naharin, the creator of the Gaga movement and the artistic director of the Bathsheva dance company. The performance itself was a feast for the eyes – many of the movements are quasi-acrobatic, and are a disciplined exercise in the control of over bounding energy.
Two aspects of the performance truly stood out, both of which made it far more interactive than your traditional dance show. At one point in the show, dancers extended hands to audience members and pulled them up onto the stage where they followed and mimicked the dancers in a series of well-defined movements, until eventually everyone on stage was truly dancing. During another part of the show, the dancers walked around the perimeters of the baseball court, every few steps they stopped and looked directly into the eyes of an audience member. What was amazing was that rather than divert their eyes, or smile, or laugh, as one might have expected, each and every one of the audience members gazed intently back into the dancers’ eyes in a series of the most extraordinary humanising moments.
Whether it is the Young Ensemble you see, or the full Bathsheva company, I highly recommend making time for this cultural experience while in Tel Aviv. Please don’t hesitate to ask us to include one a Bathesheva show in your Israel itinerary!
photo credit © Hadar Stav
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