Janet Ordman (November 8, 1933 - February 7, 2007) was a dancer, choreographer, and co-founder of modern dance in Israel. She established the "Bat Dor" dance company and the Bat Dor School of Dance.
Ordman was born in South Africa to a traditional Jewish family and grew up in Johannesburg. She began dancing at a young age and, at the age of fourteen, was cast in the lead role in Anthony Tudor's choreography "Jezel." In 1954, she started studying ballet at the Royal Ballet in London.
After completing her studies, she was involved in producing dance performances for television, ballet shows, and musicals. She visited Israel with a British dance troupe, received critical acclaim, and decided to settle in the country, opening her own dance studio. In 1965, de Rothschild and American choreographer Martha Graham visited her studio.
Shortly after their visit, Ordman was invited to serve as the rehearsal director for Martha Graham's dance company. During this time, a special connection developed between Ordman and Baroness de Rothschild, and they became a couple. In 1967, they established the Bat Dor dance studio and a year later, the Bat Dor dance company.
Artistic Philosophy and Legacy
Ordman was a perfectionist and strict disciplinarian. She believed in being tough with her dancers to achieve the best results. While she demanded excellence, she also aimed to bring the world's leading choreographers to work with the Bat Dor dance company. Under her leadership, both the company and the dance school thrived.
Janet Ordman influenced generations of dancers, including notable figures like Ohad Naharin, Ido Tadmor, Yair Vardi, David Dvir, Naomi Perlov, and many others.
Challenges and Closure
In the 1990s, the Bat Dor dance company faced economic and artistic challenges, partly due to Ordman's centralized management style and her desire to maintain a prominent stage presence even in her later years. The severe economic crisis worsened after the death of Baroness de Rothschild in 1999, who had provided financial support to the company over the years.
Ultimately, in the summer of 2006, the dance company and the school she had founded were closed, which took a toll on her health. In early 2007, Ordman was hospitalized following a heart attack but recovered. A few weeks later, she was readmitted due to pneumonia and passed away at Tel Hashomer Hospital.
Janet Ordman left behind a lasting legacy in the world of modern dance in Israel. Her dedication to dance and her contributions to the Israeli dance scene continue to be celebrated and remembered by dancers and choreographers in Israel and beyond.
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