Batsheva Visits Toronto

Bat Sheva in Toronto

  •   Dancing with a purpose

    Batsheva Dance Company has been critically acclaimed and popularly embraced as one of the most exciting contemporary dance companies in the world. Together with its junior Batsheva Ensemble, the organization boasts a roster of 40 dancers drawn from Israel and abroad. Touring extensively throughout the country and internationally, the two companies present 250 performances annually.

    Through daily training in Gaga, Batsheva’s dancers research new movement possibilities and awaken their dynamic sensitivity. They bring an eager curiosity and ripe imagination to rehearsals, where they participate actively in the creative process. Company members are also encouraged to express their unique talents by creating for the annual Batsheva Dancers Create project.

    Many of the main company’s dancers honed their skills as members of Batsheva Ensemble, which cultivates dancers from ages 18-24 and carries out the educational agenda of Batsheva. In addition to performing for young audiences around the country, the Ensemble holds open rehearsals, Gaga classes, and repertory workshops for dance schools. Batsheva Ensemble also engages in outreach activities, performing for underserved populations throughout Israel.

    Lunchtime Illumination: Ohad Naharin & Nicole Krauss

    June 12, 12:00 Noon at Luminato Festival Hub

    At this small event there were about 40 guests that came to hear Ohad speak with Nicole. Nicole had recently seen Sadeh21 and she has also participated in Batsheva workshops. The two talked about their works and what inspires them. They discussed the contrast of a writer who is “in her own mind” all day versus a dancer who works with people and her physical body. Nicole asked Ohad about his inspiration behind his composition. He spoke about his “holy trinity” of imagination, skill and form. They spoke about his invention of the “Gaga” style how it is a type of language. That relates both the art of writing and the art of dancing, because they both use a certain type of language.

    Ohad said that he shares the credit of the creativity with the dancers. Each day, depending on how each of them is feeling, they all bring something new to the table. They inspire him and change his perspective.

    Winchester Public School Workshop

    June 15th, 10:30am at Winchester Public School, Grade 7 class

    Along with two staff members from Luminato, one member of the Batsheva Dance group came to Winchester Public School to give a workshop. Winchester is an inner city school with students mainly from immigrant families from the Middle East, Africa and the West Indies.  Bobbi, the dancer, gave a whole new meaning to the word "dance" to these rambunctious grade seven students. Instead of the traditional "moves" and "steps" one would assume a dancer would teach, Bobbi tells the students to "feel their bones" to "float" on one side and feel heavy on the other, and switch! This experience was nothing short of enlightening for these students. Most adults are not aware of what exactly modern dance is, these students were given a private lesson, with encouragement to move differently, to explore different sensations. The students started out as most would, giggling, trying to get a laugh out of each other, boys on one side and the girls on the other. A transition occurred when Bobbi instructed us to run and leap, all the kids got really into it, as well as Luminato and Consulate staff. They lost their inhibitions and followed every direction.  Not only were these students exposed to another form of art they had never explored, they found out it was from a country none of them have explored; Israel. When the students heard that "Gaga"; the type of dance, often referred to as a language, created by Ohad Naharin, was from Israel there was a hush over the crowd. They had only previously heard of Israel in the news, it's known for the "situation" and now they see the small country they know so little about has so much more to offer. The kids and the teacher were very grateful that we came to their school. They thanked us many times. This is a great pleasure for the Consulate and an achievement of one of our important goals, to reach out to other communities.

    Dancing With Parkinson's

    Date: Saturday June 16th, 2012 at United Church

    The event began with a warm up for the dancing with Parkinson's workshop. Luminatio and the Consulate brought Batsheva dancers to the United Church on Bloor and held a workshop with people who have Parkinson's disease. The dancers were very interactive and helpful in the workshop. The 3 people from batsheva taught Gaga movements to the elderly people which proved to be quite beneficial. After the workshop, we sat in a circle and discussed the impressions of Gaga movement.   The members of Dancing with Parkinson's expressed the need for more dancing like the one they experienced. Movement can make people with Parkinson's anxious because it can affect memory and motor skills. However, gaga does not have specific dance moves which were very freeing for them.  We were pleasantly surprised by the positive response that the Gaga workshop received. There was a lot of discussion about having someone in Toronto to have training in this type of movement so they could regularly participate in dancing with Parkinson's workshops.

    Open Dance Lesson

    Date: Saturday June 16th, 2012 at Toronto Public Library

    Batsheva sent one of their dancers to this public event and she completed an excellent workshop for the group of about sixty people who attended. There were people of all different ages and backgrounds who participated in this workshop.  The beauty of the gaga movement is that it is able to reach a variety of people. The fact that anyone is able to dance "Gaga", whether they are dancers or not, is very important for bringing people together, which is ultimately a goal of the Consulate General of Israel.