Batsheva Dance Company (Gili Navot, artistic director; Dina Aldor, executive director), widely recognized as one of the foremost contemporary dance companies, presents the world premiere of YAG: The Movie. Ohad Naharin, now serving as Batsheva’s house choreographer, created the dance, the company’s first to be adapted for the screen. He also directs the film, in close collaboration with longtime Batsheva videographer Roee Shalti, who captured the work in performance at the company’s home, Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv, in October. To accommodate viewers around the world, Batsheva offers three ticketed virtual screenings of the performance on Saturday, November 21.
In describing YAG, Naharin enumerates qualities that are characteristic of his body of work: “love of dancing, longing, transformation of emotions into pure movement, dancers infusing content I have not written, refinement and exaggeration, family, touch, texture, flow, laughter at oneself, death, time, body, passion, imagination, fortune cookies, nudity, Hamutz-Hamutz, red, groove, control, pleasure, giving up.” His first outing as a film director and editor offers audiences an experience that is in some ways richer than what is possible in the large theaters and opera houses in which Batsheva usually performs on tour. He staged YAG in the Dellal Center’s intimate Varda Studio, with Shalti filming a six-member ensemble of the Company’s 2020-21 dancers — Yael Ben Ezer, Sean Howe, Londiwe Khoza, Igor Ptashenchuk, Yoni (Yonatan) Simon and Hani Sirkis — at close range. The space is bare, and the lighting, designed, as usual, by Avi Yona Bueno (aka Bambi), remains the same throughout the 50-minute performance.
YAG: The Movie features cinematography by Roee Shalti; editing by Shalti and Naharin; costumes by Eri Nakamura; music by John Zorn, Gaetano Donizetti, John Taverner, Ennio Morricone and Ran Slavin; and text by Naharin and from Dan Timor’s book Me and My Little Sister (Am Oved Publishers Ltd., 2003), read by Tommy Shles Shafrir.
The screenings on November 21 take place at 9pm EST, for North America; 9pm TLV (UTC+2), for Europe and Israel; and 9pm AEDT, for Australia and Asia. Admission is 12 Euros (approximately $14.20 USD) and can be purchased here.
A live talk and Q&A in English with Naharin, hosted by Hila Cohen- Schneiderman, will be held Sunday, November 22, at 2pm EST, free of charge, exclusively for those who have purchased tickets for the film. Batsheva dancers will offer virtual classes in Gaga, Naharin’s signature movement language, at 6pm EST, 6pm TLV and 8pm AEDT — just before each of the November 21 screenings — discounted 20 percent from the usual price.