Dancers go gaga over choreographer Ohad Naharin


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Dancers in the Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance will perform the works of Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin -- “Echad Mi Yodea” (Who Knows One) and “Humus’ -- Friday and Saturday at REDCAT. The CalArts students learned more than the choreography, they learned a new dancing technique.

Naharin and his rehearsal director Danielle Agami are committed to spreading the technique he calls Gaga, seeing it as a way for dancers to become more expressive. The underlying objective is to free them from self-consciousness so they can experience genuine pleasure. “By giving them permission to be themselves,” Agami says, “we hope they’ll find their natural instincts. It’s amazing how this translates into more powerful dancing, and emotional and physical maturity. In the end, Gaga is healing and strengthening –- just like Ohad’s dances. ”


Read the story about Ohad Naharin and the CalArts dancers.

For a bird’s-eye view into how Naharin choreographs, check out Israeli filmmaker Tomer Heymann’s film “Out of Focus: A Documentary on Ohad Naharin” from 2007 or even just the trailer on YouTube.

Heymann spent five days in the studios of the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet in New York while Naharin set his “Decadence” on the company, witnessing all the ups and downs that occur in such intense sessions. Demanding, funny, emotional, he is especially passionate about Gaga. Asked why he chose the name, he responds because it is a simple word, something a baby could say.

--Valerie Gladstone