For the last six days, I’ve been in Tel Aviv. Dancing, reading (Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall), laughing, and eating. I saw friends – who are still at Rambert, whom I graduated alongside, who are now based in Israel. I met lovely people, including a pensioner at class who turned out to be an ex-Batsheva, ex-LCDT dancer (who spotted my Rambert School jumper and talked about the principal Ross McKim, who he danced with) and ex-Batsheva rehearsal and artistic director! A prize to whoever can tell me his name – I seem to have mastered the British art of having a conversation without asking for a name!
EDIT: The wonderful Deborah Friedes Galili of Dance in Israel has identified the mystery man as Moshe Romano!
Principally, I went to audition for the Batsheva Ensemble. Now, I knew it was a ‘what are the chances’ type of audition. But I thought, why not!
The audition was a good experience. I enjoyed being in a studio with some lovely movers and such palpable energy. And because I approached it the way I did, there was hardly any pressure to perform, be correct, be perfect. A Gaga class, some repertoire and improvisation. Including the decision, it lasted 3 and a half hours.
I also went to open Gaga People classes – which are for anyone, as opposed to Gaga Dancers. I felt so comfortable, unconscious, free. As I hadn’t done Gaga in months, I found I really had to listen to the teachers’ instructions. “Coat your bony elbows with flesh.” “Imagine your spine is like seaweed. We are floating.” I surprised myself – I forgot I could move like that, thinking but without thought.
Looking around at the other people in class, it was a joy to see their unbridled happiness to be moving, and their honesty. They quaked, took cold showers, bobbed about so genuinely. Without a mirror in the studio, I almost wonder what I look like even more. But no, not them. And soon, that nagging thought dissolved.
Moving honestly and genuinely requires commitment, openness and patience. The movement eventually comes from a very deep place. And on the last morning, at the end of Gaga class, I was holding back tears. It wasn’t because it was my last class in Tel Aviv. Physical and cerebral crossed the threshold to visceral territory. It was very special.
I had never been to Israel before, and I’m certain I’ll go back.
Till then, (enlarge to read)