News: Protests halt Batsheva shows
Shows by the Israeli contemporary dance company Batsheva were interrupted by Pro-Palestinian demonstrations outside and in the theatre when they performed at the Edinburgh Festival this year. The show, called Hora, was brought to a stop on three evenings. According to audience members the dancers stood still on stage, the curtain was lowered and the house lights came on until the protesters were ejected.
There had been calls – notably from writers Iain Banks and A.L. Kennedy asking festival director Jonathan Mills to cancel performances by Batsheva, but a spokesperson said: “The festival supports freedom of expression and people’s right to protest. It welcomes constructive criticism, regularly facilitates debates and recognises the right to peaceful and orderly protest in any public place including outside its theatres. Equally the festival defends the rights of all artists, irrespective of nationality, creed or culture to have their voices heard.”
Read more in the Telegraph, 2 Sept 2012
Observer journalist Jackie Kemp was in the audience one night and felt “alarmed and vulnerable”. She said:
As Batsheva are an ethnically mixed group of performers who danced to a “mash up” including the Star Wars theme and Wagner and who, at home, have incurred the wrath of the Orthodox community for a routine involving them stripping off to a Passover song, it would seem bizarre to hold them responsible for any Israeli government policies. Surely it would make as much sense to blame the ballerinas of the Mariinsky (formerly the Kirov) for Putin’s human rights abuses.
Read more in the Observer, 2 Sept 2012
Batsheva Ensemble – the younger wing of the company – are touring the UK in the Autumn with performances in London at Sadler’s Wells from 19 – 21 November.
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