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Batsheva Ensemble - Deca Dance (Plymouth)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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If only I could give six stars.

Running the gauntlet of anti-Israeli demonstrators, bag searches and auditorium hecklers was worth every moment of Batsheva’s 90-minute dynamic Deca Dance.

Choreographer Ohad Naharin’s Ensemble is 16 superbly talented young (average age 20) dancers – some but not all from Israel – who live and perform his Gaga (nothing to do with Lady) ethos – where body and emotion become one with technical but easy brilliance.

The result? Unbelievably exciting, jaw-dropping movement.

Juddering, ugly shapes become astounding as dancers twitch and jerk; fluid, sculptured movement is yearningly beautiful and ensemble pieces are cohesive and precise in effortless synchronicity.

In Deca Dance, Naharin, himself outspoken against his country’s politics, has assembled a moving collage of his works from the past decade. Set to eclectic music from Goldfrapp though swing and Arabic to madrigals (and even chanting and silence is in there), the pace ebbs and flows with thoughtfully designed peaks and troughs.

Simplistic – for the most part - costuming by Rakefet Levy and Sharon Eyal, and bare background and only folding wooden chairs as props, this is pared down and keeps focus on the dancers with a fierce intensity enhanced by Naharin and Avi Yona Bueno’s mood-enhancing lighting.

Rarely on my feet for a standing ovation, I was up there with a good portion of the appreciative audience (much to the consternation of the hawk-eyed security presence responding to every move in the auditorium).


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