How did you find your way to Gaga?
I saw the Batsheva Dance company when I was 14 and fell in love with the unique way the dancers moved. I took a gaga masterclass with one of the long time company members and although I had little idea of what I’d just experienced, I knew I wanted more. I attended the summer intensive in Tel Aviv, during my summers at Juilliard and eventually after my third year was plucked for the batsheva ensemble. We trained daily in gaga with the director of Batsheva, Ohad Naharin, and began teaching one another. Since then it has been a fruitful decade of training, teaching, and experiencing gaga.
What do you like about teaching Gaga as compared to other styles?
I appreciate the balance between looking for specificity in the body and finding freedom within it. When the whole room can connect to the same idea but embody it differently, it can be a really empowering experience. I like that as a teacher you are challenged and inspired by who’s in front of you. With the hopes of reaching everyone, no matter their training or level.
What is the difficult thing about teaching gaga?
Moving, sensing, talking, and facilitating all at once! Multitasking to the max.
Photo: Christopher Peddecord
What are the benefits taking gaga classes in your opinion?
Everyone has a relationship to their body and I think it’s a practice that helps one to get better in touch with what that is and what it could be. Gaga helps you to find more freedom and space in your body, while at the same time opening up to creative and efficient ways of actually being in control of it. It’s a highly guided and fluid trip that can allow your body to think louder than your brain- for at least an hour or so…
Should or how can I prepare for my Gaga class? age limit? dress code? Required experience?
No preparation or previous experience needed! Everyone over the age of 16 is welcome. Wear loose or comfortable clothing, bare feet is best.
What should I expect in your Gaga class?
No mirrors, or spectators, good music and lots of listening to your sensations and dancing until we sweat! We will all move, sometimes subtly other moments arriving to points of physical effort and cardio, as I guide you with exercises and images the entire time.
What would you say to someone nervous about taking Gaga?
There is nothing to prepare, no steps to learn, and no time or space for judgement. We work toward specific goals together but it’s a very individual experience with room for everyone.
Photo: Gadi Dagon
Where can I find out more about gaga?
While you can read about it on gaga’s website / FaceBook page or look up some videos on youtube, generally no photos/videos/spectators are allowed so it’s best to simply try it! Also, great to watch gaga trained dancers to see the results in choreography. Look up Batsheva Dance Company or Ohad Naharin and/or L-E-V Sharon Eyal on youtube.
Olivia will be teaching a Gaga/People workshop at the Braswell Arts Center in Basel in January 2019.
More information here: www.braswellartscenter.com
Main photo: Gadi Dagon