Israel's Batsheva Dance Company Sets Out on Unprecedented France Tour

Some 40,000 people will see choreographer Ohad Naharin's repertoire during 42 performances, including a premiere at the Palais Garnier National Opera in Paris

Gili Izikovich
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Batsheva's young ensemble performing 'Decadance' by Ohad Naharin.
Batsheva's young ensemble performing 'Decadance' by Ohad Naharin. Credit: Gadi Dagon
Gili Izikovich

The Batsheva Dance Company and the works of its choreographer Ohad Naharin will be setting out next week for an unprecedented round of performances in France.

During the coming two months, some 40,000 people will see Naharin’s repertoire during 42 performances by the Batsheva Dance Company, its young ensemble, and “Decadance,” which was performed for the first time last week at the Palais Garnier National Opera in Paris.

At the Théâtre National de Chaillot the company will perform “Mamootot,” “Sadeh21,” “Deca’le,” and Naharin’s most recent work for the company, “Venezuela.” The theater will also devote a day to the study of Gaga, the dance method developed by Naharin.

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At the same time, the Palais Garnier National Opera is staging “Decadance.” For last week’s gala premier, the costumes for one of the acts were designed by Karl Lagerfeld, the creative director for Chanel.

Another round of appearances in France is scheduled for November-December.

“The study and practice of Gaga with the dancers of the Paris opera was significant,” said Naharin. “It allowed me to share with them my reflection on why and how we dance at Batsheva.”

Naharin retired as the troupe’s artistic director last month, but the French embrace of the Israeli choreographer shows how much he is appreciated worldwide.

Although Batsheva, like other Israeli dance troupes, frequently tours abroad, it seems that the coming two months are an achievement not previously seen. Both the Palais Garnier National Opera and the Théâtre National de Chaillot are among the leading cultural institutions in their fields in the world. That these institutions are performing Naharin’s works is a feather in the Batsheva Dance Company’s cap and establishes Naharin as one of the leading contemporary choreographers.