Ohad Naharin is a choreographer, the House Choreographer of Batsheva Dance Company, and creator of the Gaga movement language. Born in 1952 in Mizra, Israel, he joined Batsheva Dance Company in 1974 despite having little training. During his first year, guest choreographer Martha Graham invited him to join her own company in New York, where Naharin later made his choreographic debut at the Kazuko Hirabayshi studio in 1980. For the next decade he presented works in New York and abroad, including pieces for Batsheva Dance Company, the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, and Nederlands Dans Theater. Naharin worked closely with his first wife, Mari Kajiwara, until she died from cancer in 2001.
In 1990, Naharin was appointed Artistic Director of Batsheva Dance Company, and in the same year, he established the company’s junior division, Batsheva – the Young Ensemble. He has since created over thirty works for both companies and set pieces on many others. He has also collaborated with musicians including The Tractor’s Revenge, Avi Balleli and Dan Makov, Ivri Lider, and Grischa Lichtenberger. Under the pseudonym Maxim Waratt, he composed, edited, and mixed many of his own soundtracks. Naharin’s work has been featured in several films, including Tomer Heymann’s Out of Focus (2007) and the Heymann Brothers’ Mr. Gaga (2015).
In addition to his stagework, Naharin also developed Gaga, the innovative movement research and daily training of Batsheva’s dancers that has spread internationally among both dancers and non-dancers.
A citizen of both Israel and the United States, Naharin currently lives in Israel with his wife, dancer and costume designer Eri Nakamura, and their daughter, Noga.
Photographer: Gadi Dagon