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Cincinnati Ballet dancers in Ohad Naharin’s “Minus 16.” Cincinnati Ballet performs “Bold Moves” March 17-18 at the Aronoff Center. / Image: Peter Mueller // Published: 3.17.17

Cincinnati Ballet’s "Bold Moves" Is Sure To Inspire Your Own Solo Dance Party

I cried watching the ballet dress rehearsal last night. I mean, it wasn't “This Is Us” style bawling. But I did tear up. I also laughed. And then, I just wanted to dance.

Bold Moves comes to the Aronoff Center this weekend, featuring two very contemporary pieces of art. So yeah, to call it “bold” seems fitting.

Cut To The Chase
Choreographer: Adam Hougland

Featuring live music by the Ariel Quartet, an award-winning ensemble which first formed in Israel (you’ll see how that’s particularly poignant for this program in a bit), the piece is athletic, striking, and powerful. It’s almost as if Hougland took what we know of ballet and deconstructed it. Some movements seem abrasive & harsh, while others are sensual & soft. Accompanied by the incredibly talented Ariel Quartet, it’s the perfect way to kick off a night (or afternoon, depending on when you go) of dance.

Minus 16
Choreographer: Ohad Naharin

Naharin is the Artistic Director of the Tel Aviv-based Batsheva Dance Company. He’s created a style of movement called “Gaga,” not to be confused with Lady Gaga. For Naharin, Gaga is a way of expression, freeing the body from any preconceived notions of how it should move — and rather, just moving. But it’s not as easy as it sounds, per chance that sounds easy. There’s a level of skill involved to master this technique. Good thing we have a company of amazing dancers.

My two favorite chapters from Minus 16 were the beginning and the end.

The beginning… Dressed in black suits and white button downs, the dancers form a semicircle of chairs whilst chanting to a popular Israeli nursery rhyme. The chanting is loud, basically shouting. And it catches you off guard. Like dominoes, the dancers rise and fall repeatedly, with one dancer actually falling to the ground each time. Struggle. Triumph. Chaos. … Huh? Well, those are all words that come to mind to describe this section. When it finally ends, you’re happy to get off the repeating merry-go-round but also left with a feeling of sadness. Does it have to be over?

The ending… It includes a healthy dose of improvisation. Dancers literally come to the seats to grab willing participants to join them on stage. I wasn’t picked. (Womp womp.) At times, they dance with the audience members they’ve picked, pulling them into frame. Other times, they merely use the audience members as props for the greater movement of the piece. It’s a fun, funky, and wildly entertaining dance party that’ll have you wishing you were on stage.

Did I mention I wasn’t picked? … **insert sad face emoji here**

And then, just as you’re wishing for more. And more. And more. Just as you’re wishing for everything you witnessed to continue on a loop, it ends. But not before you’re left feeling completely energized, renewed, and impassioned to have your own solo dance party at home. At least, that’s how it went down for me.

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Bold Moves is performing at the Aronoff Center on Friday, March 17 at 8pm and Saturday, March 18 at 2pm & 8pm.

For more about Naharin's Gaga-style movement, check out our preview story here.