Lady Gaga’s bizarre videos and catchy lyrics launched the gibberish word into the mouths of adults the world over. But now there’s another Gaga catching on, and it’s not the children’s ball game. Created by Ohad Naharin, artistic director of the Tel Aviv-based Batsheva Dance Company, this Gaga—a “movement language”— is staging a quiet revolution in the dance world, and at studios in Israel, the U.S., and Europe. Naharin developed Gaga a decade ago, when he felt that his dancers had reached the limit of their classical ballet training and that a new method could refine their techniques.
Unlike in a more traditional dance class, participants in a Gaga class—with one track for “people” and another for “dancers”—are given verbal, not visual, instruction. (Watch trailer below.) There is no music in a class, no movements to copy nor combinations to learn, and no mirrors. Instead, the instructor gives directions like these: “Imagine a box and the box is the size of your chest. Move your arms away from that box, and now let the box disappear.”
Naharin has said that “the power of imagination is much bigger than our vocabulary.” The results are as varied as the bodies in the room.