with "2019", Ohad Naharin does not leave the viewer unscathed

with “2019”, Ohad Naharin does not leave the viewer unscathed

“A little piece of Tel-Aviv” in Montpellier. With “2019”, the Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin unveils, at the 42nd Montpellier Danse festival, a powerful piece, mixing softness and chaos, in a scenography closer to the spectators.

Expected for three years, Ohad Naharin’s new creation offers emotion, sincerity and proximity.

“This piece is a separate project”, explained Ohad Naharin, at a press conference on Friday morning, a few hours before the premiere, specifying that the scenography allows the dancers to “feel at home”, in an environment that is theirs. familiar”.

“This creation is a little piece of Tel Aviv that we are bringing to Montpellier,” he added.

Installed in bleachers on the stage, at the Opéra Berlioz in Montpellier, the spectators face each other, just separated by a long stage that looks like a corridor.

In “2019”, which will be performed 14 times at Montpellier Danse until July 1, the dancers deliver choreographies in unison, broken by very embodied solos. Together, they breathe, become unbalanced, then, the next moment, detach themselves from each other, meeting the gaze of the public in a rare promiscuity, until they end up on their knees.

Traditional music in Hebrew, heavy metal, Arabic songs and pop music: the atmospheric contrasts are striking and take dancers and spectators in violent flights, regularly broken by waves of softness and slowness. “It’s about dynamics, texture, chaos, transformation,” revealed the choreographer.

“I never tell the dancers what they should feel. On the other hand, I like to create a space for them in which they can feel”, reveals the one who designed the “Gaga” technique, in reference to the babbling of a baby. , the principle of which is to awaken a primitive, original and true gesture.

Beyond the dancers of his company, he regularly tests his technique with the general public.

– “Something chaotic” –

In 2016, the choreographer was the subject of a film, “Mr Gaga”, by Tomer Heymann, essential to capture the essence of his work.

“My ideas are just a springboard. The dancers then show me things that I never imagined could exist,” said the 70-year-old artist, who, nine years after signing a piece in tribute to his mother, “Hora”, dedicates this one to his father, who died in 2018.

Child of the kibbutz, passed by the School of American Ballet then the Juilliard School in New York, Ohad Naharin was trained by Martha Graham, popess of modern dance and founder, in 1964, of the Batsheva Dance Company. He took over the artistic direction in 1990 until 2018, before becoming the resident choreographer.

Since then, he has continued his research and pushes his dancers to the limits of their feelings, in order to extract the purest, most sincere movement.

“By dancing, we allow energy to circulate, like blood to flow through our veins. There is something chaotic about dancing, like nature. It’s impossible to describe,” he explained during the press conference, open to the public. “We must not be afraid of chaos, we must accept it, integrate it and walk with it”.

From “2019”, the viewer does not come out unscathed.

The images still dance in the memory for a long time, once the curtain is down. Why ? “You don’t have to know it,” Ohad Naharin distilled just before the premiere, “you’re going to experience it instead.”

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