Dancing as Politics: Interview with Hadar Ahuvia

When Hadar Ahuvia took a World Dance class as an undergraduate at Sarah Lawrence College, she recognized that she could not properly investigate other cultures until she had a better understanding of her own. Her parents had been born and raised on the kibbutz Beit Hashita, and her grandparents had helped found the Israeli state, and so she began to untangle the roots of the Israeli folk dances she’d grown up with. She found Bedouin, Druze, Palestinian, Yemenite, and Mizrahi influences on those childhood dances, and began to use them to choreograph her own.

Ahuvia’s most recent piece, “Everything You Have is Yours?” explores her Israeli American identity and addresses cultural appropriation. What’s more, the dance, nominated for a 2018 Bessie Award for Outstanding Breakout Choreography, gives Ahuvia a platform to address her own conflicted relationship with a state she sees as an occupying presence.

Ahuvia now lives in Brooklyn, NY and sat down with Eleanor J. Bader in late November to discuss the challenges inherent in creating and performing dances that are simultaneously entertaining, provocative, and politically impactful.