Acclaimed Tel Aviv-based and internationally touring contemporary dance company Batsheva Dance brings a 2017 work created by its now-Resident Choreographer and then-Artistic Director Ohad Naharin to the Royce Hall stage for two performances this Friday and Saturday, March 15 and 16 at 8 p.m.
Presented by the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, “Venezuela” is a two-part 80-minute intermission-less piece. It explores the potential conflict inherent in the relationship between movement and the content it represents. Questions may be raised like: Is the work abstract so that it allows the viewer to interpret the production in any way they choose or only within a certain range? Does an extended arm in front of the dancer “mean” something specific that the viewer needs to understand? Does the dancemaker want you to know that? Or is the gesture simply directing the viewer’s eyes toward a particular object? Or reaching toward nothing but the air above it? Does the accompanying sound refine the audience’s interpretation of the physical activity? The promotional materials say that “Venezuela” may “challenge [the audience’s] own notion of freedom of choice.” Hmmm.
Given the artist’s reputation as being one of the foremost choreographers of his generation and the Los Angeles dance-goers’ previous experience watching this ferociously expressive ensemble present his ideas, this new-to-us work is bound to compel our attention.
FYI, on Thursday, March 14, at 7 p.m., there will be a screening of the recently created documentary film about Ohad Naharin, “Mr. Gaga,” at Temple Israel in Hollywood. Gaga is the movement technique created by Naharin that sources movement from inside the body and is being investigated by movers all over the world. The innovator will be there for a Q&A following the movie. Unfortunately, the synagogue website says that the event is sold out.
—Benn Widdey, Culture Spot LA
Royce Hall, UCLA, 10745 Dickson Court, LA 90095
Temple Israel of Hollywood, 7300 Hollywood Blvd., LA 90046