Luminato 2012 Review: Sadeh21 (Batsheva Dance Company and Luminato)

Tel Aviv’s acclaimed Batsheva Dance Company presents a full-length work at Toronto’s Luminato choreographed by the company’s Artistic Director, Ohad Naharin.

Sadeh21 is rooted in Gaga, a form of ‘movement language’ developed by Naharin, the objective of which is to establish a flow throughout the body that allows complete fluidity.  The word “sadeh” means “field” – an indication of the empty stage on which this movement is performed.

I must preface this review by saying that my knowledge of dance is rudimentary at best. The audience, who all seemed to have a more extensive dance background than I, really loved the show. It had a standing ovation, and many of the conversations I overheard after the show were glowing reviews. So, if you have a deep knowledge of dance, you may really enjoy this show.

However, with my limited dance knowledge, I didn’t really get a lot out of this show. The dancers are talented and the range of movement that they are able to accomplish is impressive. I suppose that I don’t really get the ‘Gaga’ technique – to me, it just looked like a bunch of strange, random movements, that didn’t have the typical lyrical quality of most dance I have seen before.

It just looked awkward and a bit silly to me. In addition, there are large portions of the show that have all of the dancers on stage at once, all doing different movements, and for me, it was hard to decide where to look.

As well, there is very little in terms of traditional music in this show. It was mostly soundscapes, involving droning, or loud bursts of static, or a very extended, loud, recording of a woman that sounded like screeching to me (my ears literally hurt from this for hours after the show, I advise bringing earplugs for this section).

I personally didn’t really like the show, but I suspect it was just because I didn’t get it. I felt no emotional connection to the movement, however, if you know more than I do, you may very well love this show.


– Sadeh21 is playing at the MacMillan Theatre (80 Queen’s Park) till June 16, 2012
– Performances June 14-16 at 8:00pm. No intermission.
– Tickets $35, $45, $65, $85
– For tickets and additional information visit 

Photo by Gadi Dagon.