SCREENING SOLD OUT
Anyone who has ever witnessed the choreographic work of Ohad Naharin is unlikely to forget the experience. The Israeli choreographer has been the mastermind behind the dance company Batsheva since 1990. Ohad Naharin came late to dance, at age 22, but he made up for lost time, working with legendary choreographers Martha Graham and Maurice Béjart. A superb physical specimen, Naharin is quick to admit he has used his own physical beauty throughout his career, but the dancer/ choreographer also possesses an almost uncanny ability to make the human body seem new.
Director Tomer Heymann makes terrific use of archival footage of Ohad’s early days as a performer, as well as thrilling excerpts from his later works with Batsheva. But it is Ohad’s belief that dance should be accessible to everyone that leads to one of the film’s most cathartic moments, as the choreographer leads a room of ordinary people of all ages, shapes, and sizes through one of his Gaga-movement workshops. Like many great artists, Ohad is not always an easy character, as his relationships with the women in his life attest. He has been equally outspoken about Israel’s treatment of Palestinian people, calling the Israeli administration “a bunch of bullies,” in an interview with the New York Times. When the Orthodox Jewish community objected to one of his most famous works, that featured dancers stripping down to their underwear to the strains of the Passover anthem, Echad Mi Yodea, Ohad refused to censor the work even when Netanyahu demanded he do so. Despite the political difficulties the company has faced in recent years, the dance is everything, and there is too much pleasure in watching the performances to bog this quicksilver thing down. -DW