To be a Batsheva dancer, “you have to disappear.” Those were Bobbi Smith’s instructions to a room of students on Friday morning, as she led us through a section of a 2007 work called Max. Smith, a stunning dancer about as capable of disappearing as an elephant carved from rubies,…
It is tempting to be led headfirst into the implied meanings of a work entitled Hora.
But from the instant lights rise on an arresting neon green backdrop, I am thrown from any image of ancient circle dances I had conjured from the title. The voluminous space of the Howard Gilman Opera House at BAM is cut low by the dense color and a wooden bench spanning the back wall. The Batsheva Dance Company seems transported to a space altogther other-worldly. With deadpan but deadly focused faces, the dancers slowly walk forward in a straight line. When the army of eleven retreats again to the bench, short spurts of solos begin. We indulge in very “gaga” postures, walks, quirks and balances that are signature of the company. But before long they are all dancing in a flurry of unrelated chaos.
We cannot possibly watch them all. Just when the action seems overwhelming, choreographer Ohad Naharin gathers it in stillness.
The Batsheva Dance Company’s male cast (Shachar Biniamini, Matan David, Doug Letheren, Ian Robinson, and Tom Weinberger) performing Project 5 is definitely something to see if you have not already had the pleasure and if you have, well, Project 5 is worth seeing again. During a recent engagement at the Joyce Theater, Batsheva showcased alternating casts—a female and male cast—performing Project 5: a collection of pieces of various put together—similar to Decadance (2007)—into an hour-long, enticing buffet of sights, sounds, and, of course, emotions.