We Love Arabs incorporates the Gaga movement in their Spoleto production
Not to be confused with the Lady of the same name, the Gaga dance movement, created by renowned Israeli artistic director and choreographer Ohad Naharin, is an "innovative movement language." And you can expect to see more gaga than you've (likely) seen before at this year's Spoleto Festival.
To the untrained eye, dancers practicing the Gaga method look like they're slowly falling into yoga poses, then coming out, rising up, and moving in spur of the moment directions. It's trippy. But Naharin, who has been the artistic director of Batsheva Dance Co. since 1990, says that the movement is not supposed to look a certain way. It's supposed to feel a certain way:"A lot of it is to do with delicacy, with small gestures, and still be able to punch. It's about thinking of movement as something that can heal."
Two Spoleto productions will incorporate Gaga: We Love Arabs and OCD Love. In We Love Arabs, choreographer and dancer Hillel Kogan approaches the Israeli-Arab conflict with "humor and subtlety." Kogan and Adi Boutrous are the only dancers on the stage, gravitating towards each other despite the differences and prejudices they represent. Kogan will host a Gaga master class on June 10 at 1 p.m.
OCD Love co-choreographer and L-E-V co-creator Sharon Eyal trained under Naharin with the Batsheva Dance Co. and although Gaga is not specifically used in their Spoleto production, the dancers did incorporate the movement into practice sessions. In OCD Love, Eyal and Gai Behar focus on the repetition and frustration of OCD through the lens of love, and lovers out of sync. They were inspired by Neil Hilborn's poem about this often debilitating condition: "I asked her out six times in thirty seconds. She said yes after the third one, but none of them felt right so I had to keep going." Eyal and L-E-V will host a master class on June 3 at noon. The class will begin with a lesson in Gaga and will continue with an investigation into Eyal's repertory.
Hear more from Naharin and see Gaga in action below: