Ohad Naharin

Ohad Naharin

The mentor

Published in 2016

One of today’s most pre-eminent and visionary choreographers, Ohad Naharin is renowned for pioneering some of the most inventive and intriguing styles of movement in contemporary dance. His choreography and teaching have drawn a devoted following throughout the dance world, especially in his native Israel where he is considered “a bit of a rock star”, according to The New York Times. Artistic director of the Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv since 1990, Naharin ─ raised in an artistic family ─ began his training with the troupe in 1974 at age 22. A visit to Israel by dance legend Martha Graham changed his life as, impressed by his talent, she invited him to join her company in New York. Naharin went on to study at New York’s School of American Ballet, the Juilliard School and with various masters before building an international career and performing with Israel’s Bat-Dor Dance Company and Maurice Bejart’s ballet in Brussels. In 1980, he made his choreographic debut and formed the Ohad Naharin Dance Company. During 26 years with Batsheva, he has choreographed over 20 works for the company, as well as for its junior division, Batsheva Ensemble. He has also restaged more than 10 of his dances by recombining and reworking excerpts of his repertory to create Decadance, a constantly evolving, evening-length work. Naharin has also gained recognition for Gaga, his innovative movement language that has emerged as a growing force in movement practices for both dancers and non-dancers. “We look to unlock the treasures inside [dancers],” says Naharin, whose captivating choreography has made him a favourite guest artist and frequent collaborator with leading dance companies worldwide. His musicality has also led to collaborations with musical artists on scores for dances such as Kyr (1990) and MAX (2007). Naharin’s many honours include two Bessie awards (2002/2004), the Israel Prize for dance (2005), a lifetime achievement award from the Scripps American Dance Festival (2009) and an honorary doctorate from Juilliard (2013).