Join us in Belgium for a one-week intensive for professional dancers and dance students age 18 and up. From From April 3 to April 7 2017 in the “Theaterstudio” of the Artesis Plantijn Hogeschool - School of Arts | Royal Conservatoire Antwerp.
Gaga is the movement language developed by Ohad Naharin throughout his work as a choreographer and Artistic Director of Batsheva Dance Company. Gaga has two tracks: Gaga/dancers, which is the daily training of Batsheva Dance Company members, now taught also for other dancers in Israel and abroad; and Gaga/people, open to the public and available for anyone at any age, without the necessity of previous experience. Gaga classes are held for a growing number of people in the Suzanne Dellal Centre and at additional places in the country and abroad.
"Gaga challenges multi-layer tasks. We are aware of the connection between effort and pleasure, we are aware of the distance between our body parts, we are aware of the friction between flesh and bones, we sense the weight of our body parts, yet, our form is not shaped by gravity... we are aware of where we hold unnecessary tension, we let go only to bring life and efficient movement to where we let go . . . We are turning on the volume of listening to our body, we appreciate small gestures, we are measuring and playing with the texture of our flesh and skin, we might be silly, we can laugh at ourselves. We connect to the sense of "plenty of time”, especially when we move fast, We learn to love our sweat, we discover our passion to move and connect it to effort, We discover both the animal we are and the power of our imagination. we are "body builders with soft spine". We learn to appreciate understatement and exaggeration, We become more delicate and we recognize the importance of the flow of energy and information through our body in all directions. we learn to apply our force in an efficient way and we learn to use "other" forces. We discover the advantage of soft flesh and sensitive hands, we learn to connect to groove even when there is no music. We are aware of people in the room and we realize that we are not in the center of it all. We become more aware of our form since we never look at ourselves in a mirror; there are no mirrors. We connect to the sense of the endlessness of possibilities. Yielding is constant while we are ready to snap... We explore multi-dimensional movement, we enjoy the burning sensation in our muscles, we are aware of our explosive power and sometimes we use it. We change our movement habits by finding new ones, we can be calm and alert at once. We become available . . ." - Ohad Naharin
Gaga is an experience of freedom and pleasure. The work improves instinctive movement and connects conscious and unconscious movement, and it allows for an experience of freedom and pleasure in a simple way, in a pleasant space, in comfortable clothes, accompanied by music, each person with himself and others. These classes last for an hour and fifteen minutes and are taught by dancers who have worked closely with Ohad Naharin in Batsheva Dance Company. Gaga/dancers classes are built on the same principles as Gaga/people classes but also employ the specific vocabulary and skills that are part and parcel of a dancer’s knowledge. The layering of familiar movements with Gaga tasks presents dancers with fresh challenges, and throughout the class, teachers prompt the dancers to visit more unfamiliar places and ways of moving as well. Gaga/dancers deepens dancers’ awareness of physical sensations, expands their palette of available movement options, enhances their ability to modulate their energy and engage their explosive power, and enriches their movement quality with a wide range of textures.
Never stop: The class is one session, no pauses or exercises, but a continuity of instructions one on top of the other. Each instruction does not cancel the previous one but is added to it, layer upon layer. Therefore, it is important not to stop in the middle of the session. If you get tired or want to work at another pace, you can always lower the volume, work 30% or 20%, float, or rest, but without losing sensations that were already awakened. Do not return to the state your body was in before we started. Listening to the body: It is important that you take the instructions gently into your body while being aware to its sensations, abilities, and limitations. Do not seek excessive effort on your first time – seek the quality of the movement, the sensation to which we are aiming, but with less intensity in the work. Go to places where the pleasure in movement is awakened and not to places of pain. Maintain the connection to pleasure especially during effort (effort is different than pain). If you have any limitation, restrictions, or physical pain – permanent or temporary – talk to the teacher before the class starts, and be aware throughout the session. Awareness: Be aware. Get inspired by the teacher and by other people in the room. Be aware of people around you, the space that they need, and the interaction if any. Silence: During the session we do not speak unless instructed to use our voice or words. If you have any questions, you are welcome to bring them up at the end of the session. Classes start on time: Attending the first minutes of the class is very important so you will be able to produce more from the session and take care of your body. It is advised to arrive 15 minutes early, turn your phone off, find yourself a place in the studio, relax, and start. No entry for latecomers: If you are late, give up. Go do something else that is pleasant. Come tomorrow. We work barefoot, without shoes. We will be happy to hear how you felt during your first session and later as well.
Ohad Naharin has been hailed as one of the world’s preeminent contemporary choreographers. As Artistic Director of Batsheva Dance Company since 1990, he has guided the company with an adventurous artistic vision and reinvigorated its repertory with his captivating choreography. Naharin is also the originator of an innovative movement language, Gaga, which has enriched his extraordinary movement invention, revolutionized the company’s training, and emerged as a growing force in the larger field of movement practices for both dancers and non-dancers. Born in 1952 on Kibbutz Mizra, Ohad Naharin began his dance training with the Batsheva Dance Company in 1974. During his first year with the company, visiting choreographer Martha Graham singled out Naharin for his talent and invited him to join her own company in New York. While in New York, Naharin studied on scholarship at the School of American Ballet, furthered his training at The Juilliard School, and polished his technique with master teachers Maggie Black and David Howard. He went on to perform internationally with Israel’s Bat-Dor Dance Company and Maurice Béjart’s Ballet du XXe Siècle in Brussels.
Naharin returned to New York in 1980, making his choreographic debut at the Kazuko Hirabayshi studio. That year, he formed the Ohad Naharin Dance Company with his wife, Mari Kajiwara, who died of cancer in 2001. From 1980 until 1990, Naharin’s company performed in New York and abroad to great critical acclaim. As his choreographic voice developed, he received commissions from world-renowned companies including Batsheva, Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, and Nederlands Dans Theater.
Naharin was appointed Artistic Director of Batsheva Dance Company in 1990 and has served in this role except for the 2003-2004 season, when he held the title of House Choreographer. During his tenure with the company, Naharin has choreographed over 20 works for Batsheva and its junior division, Batsheva Ensemble. He has also restaged over 10 of his dances for the company and recombined excerpts from his repertory to create Deca Dance, a constantly evolving evening-length work.
Naharin trained in music throughout his youth, and he has often used his musical prowess to amplify his choreographic impact. He has collaborated with several notable musical artists to create scores for his dances, including Israeli rock group The Tractor’s Revenge (for Kyr, 1990), Avi Belleli and Dan Makov (for Anaphaza, 1993), and Ivri Lider (for Z/na, 1995). Under the pseudonym Maxim Waratt, Naharin composed music for MAX (2007) and edited and mixed the soundtracks for Mamootot (2003) and Hora (2009). Naharin also combined his talents for music and dance in Playback (2004), a solo evening which he directed and performed.
In addition to his work for the stage, Naharin has pioneered Gaga, an innovative movement language. Gaga, which emphasizes the exploration of sensation and availability for movement, is now the primary training method for Batsheva’s dancers. Gaga has also attracted a wide following among dancers around the world and appealed to the general public in Israel, where open classes are offered regularly in Tel Aviv and other locations.
Naharin’s compelling choreographic craft and inventive, supremely textured movement vocabulary have made him a favorite guest artist in dance companies around the world. His works have been performed by prominent companies including Nederlands Dans Theater, Ballet Frankfurt, Lyon Opera Ballet, Compañía Nacional de Danza (Spain), Cullberg Ballet (Sweden), the Finnish National Ballet, the Paris Opera Ballet, Balé da Cidade de São Paulo, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet (New York), Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Les Grand Ballets Canadiens de Montréal. Naharin’s rehearsal process with Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet during a restaging of Deca Dance was the subject of Tomer Heymann’s documentary Out of Focus (2007).
Naharin’s rich contributions to the field of dance have garnered him many awards and honors. In Israel, he has received a Doctor of Philosophy honoris causa by the Weizmann Institute of Science (2004), the prestigious Israel Prize for dance (2005), a Jewish Culture Achievement Award by The Foundation for Jewish Culture (2008), a Doctor of Philosophy honoris causa by the Hebrew University (2008), and the EMET Prize in the category of Arts and Culture (2009). Naharin has also been the recipient of the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French government (1998), two New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Awards (for Naharin’s Virus at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2002 and for Anaphaza at the Lincoln Center Festival in 2003), the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement (2009), and a Dance Magazine Award (2009). In 2013, he received an honorary doctorate from Juilliard.