Bat Dor Dance Company: A Legacy of Artistic Excellence
Bat Dor was an Israeli dance company that existed until 2006, making its mark as a pioneering force in the world of contemporary dance. This ensemble worked with some of the world's leading choreographers during its illustrious existence.
Fusing International Choreography with Israeli Dance:
The fusion of the Bat Dor dance ensemble with the work of international choreographers led to the recognition of contemporary international dance within Israel. In 1967, Zehava Rodman established the "Bat Dor" studio, which over the years became a renowned hub for dance. Bat Dor was among the first in the world to blend classical ballet and modern dance techniques, creating a rich repertoire that epitomized the spirit of its time.
Development of Dance in Israel:
Since the 20th century, Israeli artists have pioneered new creative avenues across various dance forms. Israel's status as a melting pot of cultures has given rise to a wide array of dance styles, reflecting the diversity of Israeli society.
The evolution of dance in Israel can be observed from two perspectives:
1. As these dance styles became integrated into Israeli society, local artists sought to infuse their works with elements of Israeli culture, creating a unique "Israeli" dance style. This duality between artists well-versed in established artistic languages such as modern dance and classical ballet and those exploring original movement languages continues to influence Israeli dance today.
The Birth of Bat Dor:
In the mid-1960s, Baroness Bat Sheva de Rothschild nurtured dance in Israel. In late 1964, she founded the "Bat Dor" dance company, bringing renowned choreographer Martha Graham to create and enable the ensemble to perform her famous works. Over the years, several choreographers and artistic directors contributed to the company's repertoire. In its final years, Bat Dor was artistically led by Ohad Naharin.
International Choreographers Collaborate with Bat Dor:
Bat Dor and its artistic director, Zehava Rodman, set themselves apart from other Israeli dance companies through their immense energy in creation and performance, maintaining high standards. Bat Dor developed a unique artistic language and an abundance of creative variety. Some of the world's leading choreographers created special works for the company, many of which were original.
Notable choreographers included Antony Tudor, Paul Taylor, Alvin Ailey, Hans van Manen, John Butler, and many others. In its later years, prominent choreographers from that era collaborated with the company, including Lar Lubovitch (USA), Nils Christe (Netherlands), Jirí Kylián (Czechoslovakia), Philippe Tréhet (France), and Luciano Cannito (Italy).
Legacy of Bat Dor Alumni:
Since its inception, Bat Dor aimed to nurture Israeli creativity. Among the graduates of the school affiliated with the company are notable choreographer and international Israeli artist, Yigal Perry, who founded his dance company, "Peridance" in the United States. Choreographers Mirale Sharon and Domy Reiter Sofer also emerged from this school.
In recent years, a new generation of talented choreographers and dancers has emerged from Bat Dor, including Anna Brodetsky, Alon Abaida, Shelly Gonan, Tamir Ginz, and Ido Tadmor, each making significant contributions to the Israeli artistic scene.
Many professionals in the Israeli dance industry, such as artistic directors, choreographers, dancers, teachers, rehearsal directors, pianists, lighting and costume designers, stage managers, and physical therapists, received their training at Bat Dor.
Closure of Bat Dor:
Despite its flourishing in the 1970s and 1980s, Bat Dor faced challenges in the 1990s due to the centralized management style of Zehava Rodman and the prolonged illness of its primary supporter, Baroness de Rothschild, who passed away in 1999.
These difficulties persisted after attempts to restructure the organization and find alternative funding sources. In July 2006, Bat Dor was closed, coinciding with the closure of the school. In early 2007, founder Zehava Rodman, who had suffered a heart attack, passed away.
The Bat Dor Dance Center in Be'er Sheva:
The Bat Dor Dance Center in Be'er Sheva, named after Larry and Lilian Goodman, is considered one of the leading and most professional dance schools in Israel. It was founded in 1973 through the initiative of Aliza Wolf, in collaboration with Bat Dor Tel Aviv, the Be'er Sheva Municipality, and the Ministry of Education and Culture. In 1995, the Be'er Sheva branch gained independent status.
Within the school, there is a two-year intensive morning program that prepares dancers and individuals with a background in dance for a professional career. Bat Dor Be'er Sheva, the largest and most professional school of its kind in Israel, has operated in Be'er Sheva for 34 years.
The school employs teachers who received their training from the original Bat Dor dance company. The teaching staff includes Daniela Shapira, Alexander Alexandrov, Ronit Ziv, Tamir Ginz, and others.
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