Ohad Naharin titles his most recent work at BAM (February 1 – 4) Last Work--was it his final? So many things are still in place where the Company and Naharin are concerned, so who knows? He made Last Work is 2015 and two years later the company still exists, Naharin is still the artistic director, and has been since 1990 with a break from 2003-4 when he was house choreographer. What is known though is that true to form, Naharin’s “gaga technique” and the dancer’s translation drives the work. Expressly trained in “gaga,” their approach is raw, animal-like and each of them own and express the movement differently. On the white stage, they enter and exit from slotted walls that frame both sides. Their movements are slippery; joints seem to move without connecting muscles, they balance beyond comfort and interchange from wiggly to still places with ease. Specially made solos and duets are un-rushed and when they move as one, there are picturesque flashes of how well they work together. Nothing but 17 pairs of hands and fingers covered one dancer from head to toe is one instance, another is their organically-timed Graham-esque floor sequence. In Last Work, like others, Naharin drops the unexpected at the most unexpected time. Here, for example, a jogger, on a treadmill, in a blue dress runs for the entire length of the show, at the end, another uses packing tape to connect all 17 dancers, and facing away from the audience, yet another pump one arm up and down then turns to the audience and we watch him feverishly polish a rifle, and there was more. Purposeful or not, some of these unexpected events are repeats from previous works and vital to the tone of Last Work. Glaringly missing is Naharin’s eclectic collage of music, usually full of the unexpected. The performers are: William Barry, Yael Ben Ezer, Matan Cohen, Omri Drumlevich, Bret Easterling, Hsin-Yi Hsiang, Rani Lebzelter, Eri Nakamura, Ori Moshe Ofri, Rachel Osborne, Nitzan Ressler, Ian Robinson, Kyle Scheurich, Or Meir Schraiber, Maayan Sheinfeld, Yoni Simon, Bobbi Jene Smith and Zina (Natalya) Zinchenko. During the run at BAM, “Mr. Gaga” the documentary about Naharin’s life in dance directed by Tomer Heymann ran at the Film Forum in Manhattan.
I am a performer, historian, consultant and dance writer. I am a Empire State College's online program Center for Distance Learning. I am also a former faculty member at The Ailey School and the Alvin Ailey/Fordham University dance major program, Hunter College, Sarah Lawrence College (Guest), Kean University and The Joffrey Ballet School's Jazz and Contemporary Trainee Program. I write on dance for The Amsterdam News, Dance Magazine and various publications. Click below to read more about me at my home page - "About Me."