Australian Dance Reviews

Sadeh21 – Batsheva Dance Company

Festival Theatre, Adelaide
March 5, 2014

By Deborah Searle of Dance Informa.

Adelaide Festival brought Batsheva Dance Company in Sadeh21 to the Adelaide Festival Centre stage this March. What a stunning display of movement for the sake of movement and dance for the sheer beauty of it.

Sadeh21 had no storyline, was defiantly abstract, yet intensely emotional. The dancers took us on a journey through 21 movement studies called sadehs (Hebrew for “field of study”). Each study was somewhat different, yet the same. Some were comprised mostly of solos and fluid, slow movement, whereas others were frantic ensemble pieces full of colour and vibrancy.

Choreographer Ohad Naharin is a genius and his dancers have rippled physiques, stunning technique and a ferocity that attacks every movement with just the right amount of zest or subtlety. Although at times a sadeh would drag on a little, each sadeh was interesting and thought-provoking in its own way and so simple, yet so complex.

Sadeh21 by Batsheva Dance Company.

‘Sadeh21’ by Batsheva Dance Company. Photo by Gadi Dagon

Voice was used in several pieces to interesting effect. In one sadeh, a female dancer yelled out numbers as the dancers formed groups of those numbers and unique positions or movements. This was very engaging and got my creative juices flowing, thinking about the choreographic possibilities that this simple idea could spark.

The lighting and stage design by Avi Yona Bueno was stark, at times harsh and confronting and worked brilliantly with Naharin’s vision. The musical score was varied between epic classical pieces that swept you away to ear-piercing, gut-wrenching screeching that was offensive to the ears. Naharin obviously wanted to confront us and make us feel uncomfortable and emotional.

Ohad Naharin and his Batsheva Dance Company are brilliant. It was an honour to be in the theatre and to feel their energy and creativity; it was palpable. I don’t want to give away how the work ends but it left me feeling free, light and on a cloud of dance beauty. Sadeh21 and Batsheva Dance Company need to be seen by every dancer, and everyone.

Photos by Gadi Dagon.

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