Courtesy Mr. Gaga

Ohad Says: The 7 Best Quotes from the Mr. Gaga Film

The new documentary, Mr. Gaga, portrays the life and work of Ohad Naharin, director of Israel's Batsheva Dance Company and one of the most influential choreographers of our time. The film, directed by Tomer Heymann and produced by his brother Barak, is full of humor, pathos and swatches of startling choreography. Brilliantly edited to reveal connections between family and profession, hard dancing and playfulness, it shows clips from recent works like Hora (2009), Sadeh21 (2011), The Hole (2013) and Last Work (2015) as well as earlier works like Tabula Rasa (1986), Sinking of the Titanic (1989) and Anaphase (1993). We hear insights from choreographers Reggie Wilson and Gina Buntz and one of Naharin's early teachers, Judith Brin Ingber (former Dance Magazine editor and author of Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance.)

The rehearsal process is sometimes harsh, but the film is ultimately very moving. The glue that holds it together is Naharin's voice and the scenes where he's coaching the dancers. Anyone who has taken a Gaga class from Naharin will recognize some of these bon mots from the film:

  • "The more you let go of everything in your body all at once, the softness of your flesh will protect you."

The Hole, a site specific work

  • "The idea of physical pleasure from physical activity was totally part of how I conceive myself as being alive."
  • "I was lucky that I started my formal dance training so late—at the age of 22— so I was a lot more connected to the animal I am."
  • "Many times when I dance, I connect to feminine forces, forces that create availability to both yielding and explosiveness, to both delicacy and aggressiveness."

Naharin with daughter Noga

  • "What is unique about gaga is the demand to listen to our body before we tell it what to do and the understanding that we must go beyond the familiar limits on a daily basis."
  • "Now I don't separate any more the interpretation of the dancers from the act of choreographing. The act of choreography is also the act of helping my dancers to interpret my work."

Last Work

  • "To mourn a big loss and to dance—they don't contradict each other. It's like they live in the same space. I really believe in the power of dance to heal."


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Courtesy Ava Noble

Go Behind the Scenes of USC Kaufman’s Virtual Dance Festival

Now more than ever, the students of USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance are embodying their program's vision: "The New Movement."

As the coronavirus pandemic stretches on, the dance world continues to be faced with unprecedented challenges, but USC Kaufman's faculty and BFA students haven't shied away from them. While many schools have had to cancel events or scale them back to live-from-my-living-room streams, USC Kaufman has embraced the situation and taken on impressive endeavors, like expanding its online recruitment efforts.

November 1 to 13, USC Kaufman will present A/Part To/Gather, a virtual festival featuring world premieres from esteemed faculty and guest choreographers, student dance films and much more. All semester long, they've rehearsed via Zoom from their respective student apartments or hometowns. And they haven't solely been dancing. "You have a rehearsal process, and then a filming process, and a production process of putting it together," says assistant professor of practice Jennifer McQuiston Lott of the prerecorded and professionally edited festival.

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