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Daring Dance Pioneer Mr Gaga

Mr. Gaga photo by Gadi Dagon
Mr. Gaga photo by Gadi Dagon

“Mr. Gaga”, a spirited documentary feature film about ground-breaking choreographer Ohad Naharin,  will be presented by Vashon Film Society for April’s Art Film Series at the Vashon Theatre.

Eight years in the making, the film follows the internationally acclaimed modern dance icon at a critical turning point in his life and career. Director Tomer Heymann weaves extensive rehearsal footage, stunning dance sequences, personal family footage, and previously unseen archive material to craft a story about this genius’ battle for artistic perfection.
When he was 22, Israeli-born Ohad Naharin was invited to perform with the prestigious Martha Graham dance company, and attended Juilliard and the School of American Ballet simultaneously. But the driven artist would not be happy until he could find a path to further his own vision of dance.

Moving back to Israel, Naharin became the artistic director of the Batsheva Dance Company and created the daring form of dance and movement language “Gaga.”

Even after achieving worldwide fame, Naharin continues to fight, sometimes with his own dancers, once even with the president of Israel, to make his vision come to life.

The film portrays the choreographer’s battle for artistic perfection, and reveals both the exhausting toll dance can take on its performers, and the extraordinary beauty that art can bring to the world.

Director Tomer Heymann says he was inspired to make a film about the controversial choreographer when he first saw Naharin’s Barcheva Dance Group in performance twenty years ago.

“My head and my heart experienced a giant upheaval, like a superb cocktail of alcohol and drugs, but without the alcohol and without the drugs,”  said Heymann, after experiencing the modern dance pioneer’s work on stage.
“Naharin crafts a continuum of movement, music, energy, sexuality, sensuality, and dancers you could fall in love with without knowing why,” comments the documentarian. “He is a tough nut to crack, very complex and contradictory, which makes him a fascinating subject for a film.”mber o

“Mr. Gaga” will be shown at the Vashon Theatre on Thursday, April 6 at 8:30 pm and on Friday, April 7 at 4 pm.