Karen, Stephanie, Steve, and I saw the Batsheva Dance Company at the Joyce Theater on Feb 28, 2023. They were doing a piece from 2009 called *Hora,* created by their house choreographer Ohad Naharin.
I've seen Batsheva probably about ten times over the years, almost always with some combination of Karen, Stephanie, and Steve. They always blow me away.
The piece opened with eleven dancers (six women, five men) moving forward in a line, in unison. They weren't rigidly uniform, which seemed to make it more satisfying. They were eleven dancers doing the same thing but not eleven dancers as a unit. You see the distinction.
One male dancer broke out of the pack and did a vigorous, kinetic solo dance. A female dancer stepped forward and did an impossibly slow and controlled set of movements, lifting one leg while standing on the other foot. That was one of the highlights of the show for me, it was extraordinary to watch, hypnotic.
The piece was inspired by a 1974 album, *Snowflakes Are Dancing,* by electronic music pioneer Isao Tomita. Naharin used arrangements by Tomita of these pieces:
"Catacombs" by Modest Mussorgsky
"Aranjuez" by Joaquín Rodrigo
"Also Sprach Zarathustra" by Richard Strauss (it was listed in the program as "Space Fantasty: Theme from *2001: A Space Odyssey,* which gave me a giggle)
"Ride of the Valkyries" from *Die Walküre* by Richard Wagner
Overture to *Tannhäuser* by Wagner
"The Unanswered Question" by Charles Edward Ives
"Solveig's Song" from *Peer Gynt* by Edvard Grieg
Main title from *Star Wars* by John Williams
"World of Different Dimensions" by Jean Sibelius
"Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun" by Claude Debussy
"Clair de Lune" by Claude Debussy
The arrangements were SO 70s, it was a hoot. Some of these pieces are overly familiar so it was a treat to hear them done in a new way. I chuckled aloud at a swoopy moment in the "Afternoon of a Faun." The *Star Wars* sequence was another highlight of the show:
As I said I've been seeing Batsheva for years, nearly 20 years, and I've seen choreographer Naharin go through an Almodóvar-esque transformation from wacky and silly to profound and deeply human. The *Star Wars* sequence was pure silliness, which was such a treat.
The dancers most often danced without visibly connecting with each other. There were a number of moments of intimacy, which packed an emotional punch because they were used so sparingly.
I will see them whenever they come to town. It's a thrill to see dancing and choreography at such a high level, it really doesn't get any better than them.