Prestigious Award for Israeli Choreographer

Just Dance: Ohad Naharin, center, teaches a Gaga class to non-dancers who want to learn how to move more fluidly.
GADI DAGON
Just Dance: Ohad Naharin, center, teaches a Gaga class to non-dancers who want to learn how to move more fluidly.

By Devra Ferst

Published November 11, 2009, issue of November 20, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Dancer, choreographer, innovator — many words have been used to describe Ohad Naharin, artistic director of Israel’s premier modern dance group, the Batsheva Dance Company. But Dance Magazine, in its 2009 award, given at a ceremony November 9 in New York, simply called him the man who “revolutionized international dance.”

The award comes on the heels of another major accolade for the choreographer. In June he was honored with the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement, which is given out annually to modern dance choreographers who have made significant contributions to their field.

Naharin began his career at the Tel Aviv-based Batsheva Dance Company in the 1970s, but was quickly lured by Batsheva co-founder and American modern dance pioneer Martha Graham to dance in New York as Esau in her company’s production of “Jacob’s Dream.” He studied at Julliard and founded his own company in 1980 in New York.

In 1990 he returned to Israel and to Batsheva, this time as artistic director.

It is as choreographer and creator for Bathseva that Naharin has made his mark on the dance world, developing a dance and movement language called Gaga that is now the signature of the company. The technique teaches dancers and non-dancers to initiate movement in new ways that make their bodies move fluidly. Naharin teaches his classes in Israel and abroad in a very unconventional way for the dance world — without mirrors. Dancers learn and critique their movement through sensation rather than appearance, producing captivating movements that appear as liquid moving in a human form.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.