Kolben Dance and Gaga/people

October 1, 2011

On Tuesday morning, I took company class with Kolben Dance, headed by Amir Kolben, a member of the faculty at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. The class was structured much like a ballet class, first starting at the barre, then with the typical center format. I must say that for not having done ballet for almost two months, I was able to hang just fine! I quite enjoyed taking class with the company, and wish that my schedule allowed me time for some kind of apprenticeship.

Here is a video of Kolben Dance’s “Plus Minus.”



Later that day, after our Dance in Israel lecture, we hopped on the bus to Tel Aviv. We took a Gaga/people class with Ohad Naharin, developer of the movement language called Gaga. That class had over one hundred people in it, and Ohad used no music for the first half to “prove that we can be groovy without it.” I think he just wanted everyone to be able to hear him. It was really something else to have been able to be led through the class by the man that developed the language. He was casual and light-hearted, but somehow I figured he would be.

Just a touch of perspective:  Ohad Naharin is a year older than my father!

The people attending the class were a mixed population:  dancers and non-dancers, tourists, folks of all ages… I think I even spotted a pregnant woman. People seem to take Gaga/people classes like you would take a Pilates or yoga class in the United States. What impressed me was Ohad’s ability to make the movement language accessible for this general population. Everyone found their own ways to “let go,” and the entire class seemed to leave the studio fully satisfied. Amazing.

I think I’m beginning to understand the matter-of-factness of Gaga, and more about not taking myself too seriously–trying to “keep it conversational,” as Doug Elkins would say. This departure from essentially trying too hard is really letting me loosen up and find new ways to isolate new body parts, but simultaneously and non-consciously.

If I hadn’t said it before, it’s hard for me to put into words.



Oh, and might I add… I always love the music instructors use when leading a Gaga class. It’s all funky and one song is completely different than the last. I’m a huge fan of anyone that can put on a hip hop track filled with [dirty] American slang and make an entire class shake their pelvises in ways they never have before.



  1. Fab photo with Mr. Naharin! So glad you got to take class with him…best wishes for continued adventures! Julia

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