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By Jenny Dalzell
Ohad Naharin will receive an honorary doctorate of fine arts from his alma mater, Juilliard, on May 24, 2013. It's hard to think of a choreographer more deserving of this recognition than Naharin. Gaga, the technique he began developing in 1990 when he took the reins of Israeli troupe Batsheva Dance Company, has swept the globe, influencing countless new and veteran dancemakers alike. Companies including Ailey, Hubbard Street, and Nederlands Dans Theater perform Naharin's work, and many of his former dancers have built successful troupes of their own: Andrea Miller, Lee Sher (of LeeSaar The Company), and Hofesh Shechter, to name a few.
Actress Laura Linney (you know her from films like Love Actually and The Truman Show) will give the commencement address on the 24th, but hopefully Naharin will be able to say a few words, too. Remember his witty speech at the 2009 Dance Magazine Awards? Read the transcript—it's equal parts hilarious and poignant. And to get a sense of his dry delivery, watch excerpts from the evening—he starts around 3:00.
Naharin's Batsheva Dance Company graced Dance Magazine's cover in February 2012. Writer Deborah Friedes Galili spoke to three dancers to find out what working in his company is like. Make sure to read through to the end to find out what Naharin looks for in a dancer, and to see an adorable pic him relaxing with his daughter, Noga.
Dance Magazine editor in chief Wendy Perron spoke with Naharin, and we found out exactly what, in his words, Gaga is all about. Plus, Naharin shared some amazing advice for dancers: "Abolish mirrors; break your mirrors in all studios. They spoil the soul and prevent you from getting in touch with the elements and multi-dimensional movements and abstract thinking, and knowing where you are at all times without looking at yourself."
Don't have an invite to Juilliard's graduation ceremony? No worries; the event will be live streamed. Details here.