Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company celebrates its Jubilee in 2014. Founded in 1964 by Baroness Batsheva De Rothschild, with modern dance pioneer and choreographer Martha Graham as artistic director, Batsheva has for a half-century played a pivotal role in the evolution of Israeli dance and is one of the country’s leading cultural institutions.
Today, under the artistic direction of Ohad Naharin, Batsheva consists of a senior company of 18 dancers and a junior company of 16 dancers, performing in Israel and abroad. In 2012, 95,000 people attended a Batsheva performance.
Photo by David Shankbone, courtesy of Wikipedia
In 2012, Batsheva announced that it would be founding an archive project with the objective of mapping, collecting and preserving materials from the Company’s 50 years and will also form the basis of continuing archival activity.
The archival materials are consigned as a special, distinct collection in the Dance Library at the Beit Ariela Municipal Library in Tel Aviv.
Materials are being solicited from institutions and provided by people associated with the company, past and present. These include documents, photographs, films, protocols, invitations, rehearsal schedules and more. Newsletter #1 and Newsletter #2 have already been published and are available online.
The archive is also documenting reminiscences of people involved with Batsheva’s history backstage; an initial collection of these stories is available for online reading here.
The objective is to organize the information and make it accessible, 24/7, in Hebrew and English, in order to create a living archive that will be a research center available to all. The archive is due to launch in the summer of 2014.
Already online is a list of the company’s full repertoire list for the years 1964 to 2000. The list includes all the dance pieces created in those years, along with credits to the creators and the original performers, and photographs. Like, for example, this image from 1971 from the dance Ebony Concerto, choreographed by John Cranko and performed by Yacov Sharir (right), Yael Lavy (center) and Yair Vardi (left) — today the Director of the Suzanne Dellal Dance Center.
Photo: Mula Eshet
Throughout its Jubilee year, Batsheva will hold a variety of events in Israel and abroad, including an international academic conference in June at Tel Aviv University, an anniversary celebration at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center, a North American tour in the fall, a European Jubilee celebration and, perhaps most important of all, a groundbreaking ceremony for the Company’s new home on the site of Tel Aviv’s old Central Bus Station.