*Naharin's Virus,* 7/18/18
Karen, Steve, and I saw the Batsheva Dance Company's Young Ensemble on 7/18/18 in *Naharin's Virus,* created by their artistic director, Ohad Naharin. The three of us have seen them many times over the years and they've followed a sort of Pedro Almodovar trajectory: they started off boisterous, iconoclastic, fun, full of energy, and while they haven't lost that energy, they've gained depth, drama, and (a funny word to use when talking about dancing) gravity. Every time I see them they blow me away, there's always something startling and impactful about their work.
The piece was an adaptation of *Offending the Audience* by Peter Handke. There was a fair amount of text, unusual for a dance piece. The text was mostly delivered by one of the dancers, up on a platform. His final monologue was hilarious and off-putting. He spoke directly to the audience, a seemingly endless stream of insults, maybe fifty to a hundred total. I'm paraphrasing: "You ignoramuses. You gate crashers. You boogers."
There were sixteen dancers in the company, eight men and eight women, costumed identically. It appeared that every dancer had a solo moment, a moment to shine and show what they're able to do. That was thrilling. You expect the "Young Ensemble" of a dance company to be a little unpolished, a little work-in-progress, but that clearly wasn't the case here. These were sixteen world-class dancers, working together to create something extraordinary.
Here's a sort of preview of the piece, as performed in 2015: