Going “Gaga”:  Dancers and non-dancers benefit from movement workshop that is accessible to all

Gaga workshop
Participants of the movement and dance workshop with Batsheva Dance at the NAC in January © Photo submitted

“You should sign up for this workshop right away…”

That was the message Liz Winkelaar received from Renata Soutter, Artistic Director at Propeller Dance Company.  And as soon as Liz read more about the Batsheva Dance Company‘s movement workshop she understood why.

A paraplegic since 18, Liz has been training with Propeller, an integrated dance company, for 10 years.  She’s attended a lot of dance workshops but never anything like Gaga – an expressive and dynamic movement language developed by Ohad Naharin, Batsheva’s long-time artistic director.

“Normally, when I attend workshops, I have to adapt what I’m learning but with Gaga it’s a whole other vocabulary,” says Liz.  “It’s an inclusive way of moving that automatically worked for me.  I think it works for everybody.”

Siôned Watkins, Education Associate and Teaching Artist, NAC Dance was thrilled that Batsheva Dance could offer this rare opportunity to dancers and non-dancers alike.  “It was an hour of non-stop movement, accessible to everyone,” she says.  “There was a feeling of unity among the participants that was strong and solid.”

In fact, she wants to help program more dance and movement classes suitable for everyone.  “Lots of people in the community want to move.  We should help make more opportunities available,” she says.

That would come as welcome news to Liz who says the Gaga workshop was transformative and opened her up to more possibilities in her own work.  “It’s unusual to find accessible, valuable dance training,” she admits.  “I’m very appreciative to NAC Dance and their supporters for making it possible.”

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