Ohan Naharin

MARCH 1. 2. 3. 2012 – 8 p.m.

Service charges and
taxes not included.
from $27.60

Hora brings Batsheva to the essence. Amazing technique and skills, and also layers of colour and brilliant associative ideas. Nothing more to be said – Naharin and Batsheva have done it again. A flagship in the complete corpus of Naharin’s work. (ynetnews.com, Tel-Aviv)

Renowned for its stimulating dances and excellent performers, the Batsheva Dance Company will once again grace the Montreal stage! Much appreciated by local audiences, this Israeli troupe directed by Ohad Naharin will be presenting Hora, his “best work in the past six years” (Yediot Aharonot, Tel Aviv). In a spare, lime green décor – the green totality broken only by a long communal bench – eleven black-clad dancers perform this refined and complex piece. Supported by magnificent lighting and conveying total commitment, the dancers give physical form to the sound score mainly by masters arrangers Isao Tomita and Ryioji Ikeda (only for Data Matrix), a series of surprising adaptations of music ranging from Star Wars to 2001: A Space Odyssey, by way of Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.

“Each work by our own maverick Ohad Naharin is a surprise – but you can count on it to stimulate you. And Hora does just that. […] Naharin orchestrated the dance with symphonic flair and reined his dancers’ individualities into fully controlled artistic heights.” (Jerusalem Post)



photo © Gabi Dagon


Co-produced by Festival Montpellier Danse (2010) and the Lincoln Center and dedicated to the choreographer’s 80-year-old mother, Hora is a brilliant and disconcerting work and his most abstract to date, starting with its title. As Naharin explains Hora is our traditional folk dance and a veritable symbol of Israel, as it evokes the joyous celebrations of the Zionist pioneers. But hora also means hour is Spanish and Italian, and leg in Polish. It also has other meanings in other languages.” It is thus an invitation to openness, to the pleasure of appreciating dance for the sensations it procures.

The choreographer confided to Figaro Magazine that “One must attend a dance performance with an open mind, so that expectations do not pollute what one is about to see. That is how dance can change lives – not with grand ideas, not with revolutions, but simply with atmospheres that touch people deep in their souls.”

The minimalist set brings to mind a laboratory. Naharin has created this clinical atmosphere to display his movement at frenetic speed, with suspended phrases, interrupted sequences and oblique positions in a succession of climaxes and unremitting energy. In constructing the piece, Naharin directed his dancers to marry their passion to their physical skills. He made sure that the combination of the two was always evident, and has succeeded magnificently. Present onstage from beginning to end, the dancers unabashedly plunge into a choreography full of allusions and references, but one that remains nonetheless a stimulating experience for the novice spectator.

“This whole piece offers a thrilling spectacle of movement encompassing an emotional roller-coaster, while successfully highlighting – in a company that deliberately works without soloists – the distinct uniqueness of each one of the dancers. […] Hora contains audacity, defiance, silliness, loneliness and togetherness, and humour.” (ynetnews.com)

“The dancers often seem to come from another world, their movement and gestures belonging to a somewhere else. They appear at times to be out of kilter, as they veer off and extricate themselves from the banal and the expected. Everything is rerouted. The ordinary does not exist. It is precisely that strange combination that is the source of such beauty.” (Lestroiscoups.com,  Avignon)

Ohad Naharin, Choreographer & artistic director

An Israeli choreographer known for his incisive style, Ohad Naharin has transformed the landscape of contemporary dance in Israel, turning preconceived ideas about dance upside down. His characteristic approach is to push the limits of dance, for he is open to everything that is human, to all cultures and art forms, to all manner of movement. Whimsical and rebellious, he is a much sought-after choreographer.

Ohad Naharin  

photo © Public Relations


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 dans 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).

Lenght 1 h
Friday March 2, 2012,
after the show.

Created for
the Batsheva Dance Company •Co-produced by Montpellier Danse 2010, Lincoln Center Festival, New York •Choreography Ohad Naharin • Lighting & Stage Design Avi Yona Bueno (Bambi) • Costume Design Anna Mirkin •Sound Design & Editing Maxim Waratt•Bench Design Amir Raveh •Music Arranged and Performed byIsao Tomita - Excepté pour / Except for Data Matrix –par / by Ryoji Ikeda • Isao Tomita arranged and performed the following pieces Catacombs – composed by Modest Mussorgsky; Aranjuez – composed by Joaquín Rodrigo; Space Fantasy: Theme from "2001: A Space Odyssey" [Also Sprach Zarathustra] – composed by Richard Strauss; Die Walküre: Ride of the Valkyries, Tannhäuser: Overture – composed by Richard Wagner; The Unanswered Question – composed by Charles Edward Ives; Peer Gynt/Solveig's Song – composed by Edvard Grieg; Star Wars - Main Title – composed by John Williams; World of Different Dimensions – composed by Jean Sibelius; Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun – composed by Claude Debussy; Suite Bergamesque, No. 3: Clair de Lune – composed by Claude Debussy.