In the past few years, companies such as Nederlands Dans Theater 2, Ailey 2 and Juilliard Dance have shown Scottish audiences just how intoxicating young dancers can be. What they lack in maturity, they more than make up for in youthful vigour and unbridled enthusiasm.
The latest company to send its youth wing our way is Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company, last seen at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival with the superb Hora. Comprised of a talented group of 18–24-year-olds, the Batsheva Ensemble acts as a bridging ground between dance training and the main company.
Sharing the same building – and most days the same class – as the dancers in Batsheva, the Ensemble members are surrounded by role models. Artistic director Ohad Naharin’s unique movement style, Gaga, is a unifying force for both companies.
‘It’s really inspirational to see the main company members when we have class together,’ says 20-year-old Or Schraiber, who joined the Ensemble in 2010. ‘But then everything is really inspiring here. When you come into the building in the morning, and do the Gaga class, it gives you an amazing energy for the rest of the day.’
On this, their first UK tour, the Ensemble will perform Deca Dance, a collection of short works Naharin first created in 2000. Each time it’s performed, however, the work grows and evolves – aided by the Gaga technique that underpins it.
‘Gaga helps you develop your imagination and creativity,’ explains Schraiber, ‘and it allows you to do whatever is right for your body. So with Deca Dance, everybody has their own individual qualities and ideas on how to interpret the movement.’