Karen, Steve, Stephanie, and I saw the Batsheva Dance Company in *Venezuela* at BAM on 3/27/19. Karen, Steve, and I had seen them many times before, this was Stephanie’s first time. They were, as always, incredible. The piece had an interesting structure: it started with eight dancers doing a set of dances, eventually other dancers were brought on. Then at the midpoint the same sequence was performed again, with eight different dancers, to different music. The music in the first half was based on chant, with a drone. The drone got louder, eventually becoming louder than the chanting. The music in the first half was more contemporary, pop-ish, and upbeat. A couple of us felt like the second half was more compressed than the first, but I think that was an illusion. It was a fascinating concept, seeing how differently the dancing looked with different dancers, and especially set to different music.
A few highlights: the show started with the eight dancers standing with their backs to the audience and slowly moving forward, to the back of the stage. A female dancer stopped and made an elegant pose, then a male dancer stopped and made a similarly elegant pose. Then things got more active, eventually the dancers split into couples (male/female) and danced in a way that was sort of a riff on ballroom dancing - - like an off kilter, highly skilled, and somewhat aggressive *Dancing With the Stars.*
One memorable sequence had a larger group of dancers (maybe all 16?) skipping around the stage. They started with an easy, loping stride, and it was fascinating watching them cluster into groups, like birds in the sky. Their skipping became faster and menacing, with their arms flinging about with great force. At the end of the sequence the dancers were skipping forward and backward in lines, and it was unnerving thinking that the backwards dancers would run into the forwards dancers (they didn’t).
There was a long sequence with two male dancers rapping in unison, and a female dancer taking a verse in the middle. This was the least satisfying sequence, the one sequence I wasn’t so interested in seeing/hearing a second time.
The most memorable sequence had the men on all fours and the women sitting on their backs and riding them. Very slowly, with their feet dragging on the floor. It was creepy and unsettling.