Emet Prize Laureates

Ohad Naharin

2009 Laureates of Emet Prize

In Category: Culture and Art
In Field: Dance


Ohad Naharin

Jury Statement

“Ohad Naharin – dancer, choreographer and creator of a movement language - is awarded the EMET Prize for the ceaseless revitalization of his work, for his varied creations in the field of modern dance, characterized by a complex wealth of movement and the use of other arts (lighting, music and design), for fashioning a training method open to every innovation of his dancers' virtuosity, for providing a stage for young artists and their creations and for creating dance pieces appealing to children and youth.”


Ohad Naharin was born in 1952.

He started dancing at the Batsheva Dance Company in 1974. A year later he joined the company of Martha Graham, founder of the Batsheva Company, in New York. While dancing with her troupe he won a scholarship from the School of American Ballet and the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, and later studied at the Julliard School. 

Upon completing his studies he joined the Maurice Béjart Company in Brussels for one season. In 1980 he started working as a choreographer in the Kazuko Hirabayashi Studio, New York. He choreographed and danced with the troupe he founded in New York until 1990, when he was invited to serve as the artistic director of the Batsheva Company. He was director of the Company until 2003 and later again from 2005. He also serves as dance advisor to the Israel Cultural Excellence Foundation.

Over the years he has choreographed more than 20 works for the Batsheva Company, both for the senior company and the youth ensemble. Some of his works were also performed by other dance companies around the world, among them the Frankfurt Ballet, the Lyon Opera Ballet, the Spanish National Ballet in Madrid, the Paris Opera Ballet and other companies. Among his prominent works: Anaphasa (1993), Yag (1996), Mamootot ("Mammoths", 2003), Three (2005), MAX (2007) and Hora (2009). His experience as dancer and choreographer has led him to develop the Gaga movement language – an innovative training language in the field of dance aimed to build up the abilities of the dancers.

His work won him many prizes and titles, among them “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres”, conferred upon him by the French minister of culture, for enriching the world dance scene, an honorary doctorate from the Weizmann Institute of Science and the Hebrew University, the Minister of Culture and Sport Prize for Creation, the Bessie Award (2002 and 2004) for Naharin's Virus and Anaphasa and the Israel Prize (2005).