Batsheva Ensemble- Decadance #21 at Suzanne Dellal, 9/09/21

photos- Askaff

The original title of choreographer Ohad Naharin's  Decadance, premiered in 2000, marked   the first decade of a massive body of dance works that Naharin  had created  for Batsheva, since he returned to Israel  in 1990 and took the position of the company's artistic director.  

This celebrated creation introduced a work composed as a mélange of scenes from previous works by  Naharin, among them the revolutionary Kyr, Anaphase(both on 1993) and Naharin's Virus  in 2001 along several sections from other favorite creations of that era served as the building blocks of Decadance,  originally created for Batsheva Company. The odd one among the creation's selection is Zorn, a short piece that Naharin had made for university students abroad.

This decade and the ones which followed endowed Batsheva with international notoriety and Naharin's reputation soared with it. Apparently, Naharin must have decided that it is the right time to do a new version of Decadance, three decades after he took the reign of Batsheva.  

Inevitably, after three productive decades, Naharin had a lot of materials to pick from. He also decided to hand the current Decadance#21 to Batsheva Ensemble, the second, younger company. The young dancers are trained for the challenge. In fact they young dancers did very well and a few even attracted the eye.

 If one expected to see on the vast stage of the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center some of the favorite sections from the original version of Decadance, or sections of some more outstanding works by Naharin in the last decade and didn't, must realize that the chosen sections were mostly from dances without complicated sets and costumes for practical reasons. Several scenes retained their original structure, like "Ehad Mi Yodeah"  set to famous Passover chant, while some scenes had gone through more intensive changes which often gave them a refreshing effect.

In recent years the company took out of its archives selected older Naharin's works, refurbished them and brought them back to the active company's  repertoire, thus giving them  new life, which turned to be a treat for Batsheva's  younger audiences and a treat to the avid followers.  Perhaps in a decade or two we'll be lucky to see Decadance#3 .

Watching the evening had a bit of a nostalgic flavor which is nice, yet it was followed by regret that this particular assemblage didn't present the true diversity of the company's repertoire nor Naharin's full original and challenging artistic range.