Ohad Naharin

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Ohad Naharin
Native name אוהד נהרין
Born 1952
Kibbutz Mizra, Israel
Citizenship Israeli and american
Occupation Contemporary dancer, choreographer and dance company artistic director.
Employer Batsheva Dance Company
Style Gaga
Title Artistic Director
Spouse(s) Mari Kajiwara
Partner(s) eri nakamura
Children noga

2010 dance magazine award

2013 honorary doctor Juilliard school

Ohad Naharin (born 1952) (Hebrew: אוהד נהרין) is an Israeli contemporary dancer, choreographer and dance company artistic director.


Ohad Naharin was born in 1952 in Kibbutz Mizra.[1] Raised in an artistic home, he wrote stories, composed music, and painted as a child. His father held a doctorate in psychology, was previously an actor, and his mother was a dance teacher. Nevertheless, Naharin did not start dancing until age 22.[2] During his first year with the Batsheva Dance Company, Martha Graham visited Israel and invited Naharin to join her dance company in New York. He attended Juilliard and the School of American Ballet.[3]

In 1978, he married Mari Kajiwara, a native New Yorker and an Alvin Ailey dancer. In 2001, she died of cancer at age 50.[4]

He is now married to Eri Nakamura, a Batsheva dancer (see Hadassah magazine Feb/March 2015). He has daughter, Noga, age 5.

Batsheva Dance Company[edit]

Batsheva Dance Company

In 1990, Naharin was appointed the artistic director of the Batsheva Dance Company, thereby launching the company into a new stage. The company is international in nature, made up of individually unique dancers from Israel and abroad. Dancers are encouraged to affirm their distinct creative gifts, as creators on their own.[5]

Naharin’s signature style and technique has developed during his time with Batsheva. His style is “distinguished by stunningly flexible limbs and spines, deeply grounded movement, explosive bursts and a vitality that grabs a viewer by the collar.”[4] His dancers do not rehearse in front of a mirror. This enables them to move away from self-critique and feel the movement from within. Naharin is known to be a reserved and private person, and this is apparent in the studio as well. He does not get angry or raise his voice, but comments constructively and calmly.[4] Since he has also been musically trained, Naharin sometimes collaborates on the compositions used in his pieces.[6]


Naharin developed a vocabulary called Gaga, consisting of words that signify particular ways to initiate movement and the parts of the body involved with the movement. One example is "Luna", which refers to the fleshy, semi-circular (like the moon, hence "luna") regions between fingers and toes.[7]


Naharin's works have been commissioned by the Frankfurt Ballet, Opéra National de Paris, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Sydney Dance Company, Lyon Opera Ballet, Les Grand Ballets Canadiens, Rambert Dance Company, Compañia Nacional de Danza, Cullberg Ballet, Finnish National Ballet, Ballet Gulbenkian, Balet da Cidade de São Paulo, Bavarian State Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. The Royal Dennish Ballet,

He seeks to create movement that is universal yet personal. He always has a clear social and political conscience in his works, but his dances are not meant to be political. He finds storytelling of suffering and the world’s problems boring in comparison to a person’s ability to use texture and multi-layered movement. He contrasts physical explosiveness with stillness, taking an interest in contrasts, edges, and extremes, which creates vital distance and space in dances. His philosophy, shared with many who devote their lives to choreography, is that everyone should dance.[8] “Deca Dance” highlights many excerpts from his previous works. Naharin says himself, “Deca Dance is not a new work. It is more about reconstruction: I like to take pieces or sections of existing works and rework it, reorganize it and create the possibility to look at it from a new angle. It always teaches me something new about my work and composition. In Deca Dance I took sections from different works. It was like I was telling only either the beginning, middle or ending of many stories but when I organized it the result become as coherent as the original if not more.”[5]

In “Max,” “Mr. Naharin’s theatrical ingredients are space, movement and light.”[9] A critic comments, “In this tremendously potent work, there are few obvious displays of emotion, yet 'Max' is full of imagery that slips between real life and dance in fleeting flashes.”[9]

"Anaphase," a work for 22 dancers and two musicians, combines elements of theater, opera, film and rock music as well as dance. According to Naharin, it "deals with small sculptures in a big space" and explores the abilities of the human body.[10]

Other pieces he has choreographed include “Three,” “Tabula Rasa,” “Mabul,” “Pas de Pepsi,” “Haru No Umi,” “In Common,” “Sixty a Minute,” “Black Milk,” “Innostress”, “Mamootot.”, "moshe", "yag" "sabotage baby". "perpetuum", "Passo Mezzo"."Kamuiot", "plastelina" , "Naharin's Virus", "Hora", "Sadeh21". "The Hole"


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Doron Halutz (5 November 2011). "The Face / Ohad Naharin". Haaretz. 
  2. ^ "Batsheva Dance Company, an interview with Ohad Naharin". Culturekiosque.com. 7 March 2000. Retrieved 16 May 2010. 
  3. ^ The Face: Ohad Naharin
  4. ^ a b c Goodwin, Joy (3 June 2007). "Free Your Mind, and Your Spine Will Follow". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ a b "Batsheva Dance Company". Israelcentersf.org. Retrieved 16 May 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Batsheva Dance Company > Ohad Naharin
  7. ^ "Video About Gaga van Bat7 – MySpace Video". Vids.myspace.com. Retrieved 16 May 2010. 
  8. ^ "A conversation with choreographer Ohad Naharin". Charlie Rose. 22 November 2005. Retrieved 16 May 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Kourlas, Gia (6 March 2009). "Conjuring Up a World Where Images Abound". The New York Times. 
  10. ^ About Culture, Not Politics; Kennedy Center Celebrates Israel's 50th Anniversary
  11. ^ "Israel Prize Judges’ Rationale for the Award (in Hebrew)". Israel Prize Official Site. Archived from the original on 30 April 2010. 
  12. ^ "Award". Americandancefestival.org. Retrieved 16 May 2010. 
  13. ^ 24 April 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili (24 April 2009). "Ohad Naharin to Receive 2009 Scripps/ADF Award". Danceinisrael.com. Retrieved 16 May 2010. 
  14. ^ Ohad Naharin Receives a 2009 Dance Magazine Award (The article that was published on Dance Magazine[1])

External links[edit]