Gone Gaga | Performing Arts Sidebar | Chicago Reader

Gone Gaga 

Batsheva Dance Company bring two works—and a peculiar approach—to town

Ohad Naharin gives his dancers freedom in Deca Dance and B/olero

Ohad Naharin gives his dancers freedom in Deca Dance and B/olero

Gadi Dagon

Batsheva Dance Company artistic director Ohad Naharin is a trickster, but not the malicious kind. He just seems to want to keep people on their toes—including his dancers. They're trained in a movement language of his own invention, called Gaga and described as "turning on the volume of listening" to the body. Apparently it works: grounded in their own impulses, Batsheva members are able to immerse themselves in the non sequiturs of Naharin's numinous dances.

Naharin also likes to quote himself, cutting old material into new amalgams. That's no secret since he always lists his sources—and no problem since his work definitely bears a second look. Max, the five-year-old, hour-long piece for ten that Batsheva will perform here, is only technically a Chicago premiere: it'll look familiar to you if you saw Deca Dance, which Batsheva brought to the Auditorium in 2009, or Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's rendition of Three to Max last year. The other piece on the program, a genuine Chicago premiere, is Naharin's 2008 women's duet B/olero, set to Isao Tomita's electronic riff on the classic by Maurice Ravel.

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