Sept. 28, 2006
Batsheva Celebrates Naharin's Choreography In Hancher Oct. 19
The Batsheva Dance Company, Israel's leading modern dance company, will celebrate a decade of artistic director Ohad Naharin's choreography with "Deca Dance" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, in Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus.
"I've wanted to bring this company to Iowa City ever since Nederlands Dans Theatre II performed Naharin's 'Minus 16' here," says Judith Hurtig, Hancher's artistic director. "I found Minus 16 to be one of the most compelling dances I have ever seen. It was fabulous, and our audience loved it. 'Deca Dance,' which Batsheva will perform here, is an evening-length work that is a compilation of excerpts of nine of Naharin's earlier works that he has combined, reorganized and re-worked. It has gotten rave reviews, and I am excited to see it."
"In 'Deca Dance,' I took sections from different works," Naharin explains. "It was like I was telling only either the beginning, middle or ending of many stories but when I organized it, the result became as coherent as the original, if not more."
Village Voice dance critic Deborah Jowitt wrote, "If you could hold one of Ohad Naharin's dances in your hand, it would feel smooth. Think of a polished stone. It looks like a piece of secret sculpture, but hurl it and it becomes a weapon."
A review of "Deca Dance" in culturevulture.net concluded, "Naharin is a valiant, superlative choreographer . . . smart, passionate, defiant and self-deprecating."
The Batsheva Dance Company was founded in Tel Aviv in 1964 by Martha Graham student Batsheva De Rothschild, who immediately brought in Graham as the company's first artistic director. Naharin became artistic director in 1990.
Naharin began his dance training with the Batsheva, and a year later at the invitation of Martha Graham he traveled to New York to join her company and make use of a scholarship to the School of American Ballet. He then joined the Maurice Bejart Company in Brussels for one season, and he made his choreographic debut in 1980 in the Kazuko Hirabayashi studio in New York.
For a decade he performed and worked with his own company in New York, until he was appointed artistic director of the Batsheva Dance Company in 1990. Since then his works have been produced by major companies in the United States, Europe, Australia, Canada and South America.
Naharin was awarded the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 1998, and he became an American citizen in 1991.
Naharin protégés Yoshifumi Inao and Sharon Eyal became the company's artistic director and associate artistic director in 2003, with Naharin remaining as resident choreographer. Naomi Bloch Fortis, Naharin's longtime associate, continues leading Batsheva as its general manager and co-artistic director.
The Batsheva performance in Hancher is supported by Gary A. and LaDonna K. Wicklund.
Tickets are $40/38/35; UI student $36/15; senior citizen $36/34.20/31.50; youth $28/26.60/24.50. Discounted concert tickets are available as part of volume purchases: A simultaneous purchase of five events or more qualifies for a 15-percent discount.
Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.
Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher's website: http://www.hancher.uiowa.edu.
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