When similar shouting occurred at the Playhouse in August, the Batsheva dancers stood still until the hecklers were ousted. The Ensemble (as the youth wing is tagged) went one better – they kept on dancing, their focus and finesse drawing ever louder cheers and applause. Maybe that poise and prowess comes with the territory that is Gaga, the movement language/philosophy devised by Batsheva's artistic director Ohad Naharin.
Deca Dance, the quirky sampler-collage of his choreography, showcases the chameleon-like nature of Gaga, and its enviably open-ended versatility that responds just as readily to a bossa nova beat as to an elegantly baroque cadence or romping folk tune. And because Gaga also encourages individuals to express themselves within the work, the dancers – from 18 to 23 years – were saucy, seductive, stonkingly wacky or delicately nuanced.
It's hugely enjoyable, yet there is a clever twist to the random juxtaposing of mercurial moods and different styles. Alongside the mosaic of human emotions, there's a recurring motif – a loner rebel, who cuts loose from the pack, as if following gut instincts. Very Gaga, very Naharin. Did the shouters register the Arabic music on the soundscore? Who knows? A vociferously thrilled audience ignored them and, as with Naharin's well-attended post-show Q & A, made it clear Batsheva and its Ensemble are not about politics but world-class dance.