Introducing the Batsheva Ensemble Dance Company from Israel who are currently touring the UK.
In her review of their recent performance at The Lowry in Salford Sally Cinnamon writes of Batsheva:
“The talent, maturity and complexity of the dancer’s abilities belie their tender age. Dancer, Oz Shoshan prologues the show as the audience filters to their seats. He’s dancing alone on stage. It looks improvised, it might be choreographed, either way, it’s the best opening I’ve seen in recent years and a sample of things to come.”
But, as ever, when an Israel production comes to town so do those who harbour a particular hatred towards the Jewish state and its Jewish citizens. Cinnamon writes:
“a couple of the protesters infiltrate the performance and bring proceedings to a temporary halt. It’s a sour start to the evening and although everyone has the right to protest, it seems bizarrely worthless to be hollering remonstration at young dancers.”
Cinnamon signs off her review:
“The show is on tour throughout the UK and has been harboured by protest at every venue so far. It shouldn’t put you off. There were those outside in the cold that protested and there were those of us watching that warmed to some of the very best young dancers in the world.”
This Friday the company are performing their Deca Dance at the Brighton Dome. Here’s the trailer:
There was due to be a Saturday performance, but The Dome pulled it due to concern over security. Their idea is to beef up security for the one night instead of spreading it over the two nights. This is a shame because Jews who live in Brighton who keep the Shabbat and who bought tickets for the Saturday night performance cannot go to the one on Friday night.
The usual accusation being thrown at the Batsheva Ensemble by the protesters is that it is government funded and, therefore, being used by the Israeli government to promote Israel in a good light. If this isn’t pure anti-Semitism then where were the protests interrupting British and American government funded shows when those countries went into an allegedly illegal war in Iraq?
An anti-Israel activist who recently spoke at a meeting in Brighton about disrupting the Batsheva Ensemble said:
“I do support a non-violent disruption of the Batsheva performance. I encourage everyone to go and protest there. I would support people in non-violently disrupting a performance that I don’t think should go ahead, the performance needing the funding that it does.”
Here’s the audio:
So once again it seems people will be having their evening’s entertainment disrupted having paid good money for tickets. It happened at the Royal Albert Hall when the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra performed. It happened when Israel’s National Theatre (Habima) performed The Merchant of Venice at The Globe.
Now it is happening to the Batsheva Ensemble, a young dance group making a name for themselves on the world stage.
Incredibly, no charges were pressed against any protesters who were taken out after disrupting despite those protesters acting contrary to Section 68 (1) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which states:
“A person commits the offence of aggravated trespass if he trespasses on land and, in relation to any lawful activity which persons are engaging in or are about to engage in on that or adjoining land, does there anything which is intended by him to have the effect—
a)of intimidating those persons or any of them so as to deter them or any of them from engaging in that activity,
(b)of obstructing that activity, or
(c)of disrupting that activity.
It is about time the venues and police acted by pressing charges.