Gaga (dance vocabulary)

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Gaga is a movement language and pedagogy developed by Ohad Naharin during his time directing and teaching the Batsheva Dance Company, that has defined the company's training and continues to characterize Israeli contemporary dance.[1] A practice that resists codification and emphasizes the practitioner's somatic experience, Gaga is importantly labeled a movement language rather than a movement "technique". Many have noted that Gaga classes consist of a teacher leading dancers through an improvisational practice that is based around of a series of images described by the teacher.[2] Naharin explains that such a practice is meant to provide a framework or a "safety net" for the dancers to use to "move beyond familiar limits".[3]The descriptions that are used to guide the dancers through the improvisation are intended to help the dancer initiate and express movement in unique ways from parts of the body that tend to be ignored in other dance techniques. One example is the image of "Luna", which refers to the fleshy, semi-circular (like the moon, hence "luna") regions between fingers and toes.[4] As part of the ideological insistence on moving through sensing and imagining, mirrors are discouraged in a Gaga rehearsal space.[2]

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