AteNine Brings Israeli-Inspired Gaga Dance to Jacob’s Pillow

AteNine (photo Cheryl Mann)

(BECKET, Mass.) – AteNine, the Los Angeles-based dance company led by Israeli choreographer Danielle Agami, is in residence in the Doris Duke Theatre at Jacob’s Pillow from Wednesday, July 26, through Sunday, July 30, in a program including a collaboration with percussionist-composer Glenn Kotche of Wilco. Agami, named “choreography’s ‘It’ girl” by the Los Angeles Times, is a former dancer and rehearsal director with the world-renowned Batsheva Dance Company, based in Tel Aviv.

Danielle Agami draws from her background in Gaga movement practice to create bold, innovative work. The Jacob’s Pillow program will include two works: Exhibit b and excerpts from vickie.

Exhibit b, a work for eight dancers, embodies the impact of conflict on daily life. The dancers move between unison work, solos, and duets under the intimate lighting design of Jeff Forbes. White Bird, a leading dance presenter and arts organization in Portland, Oregon, commissioned Exhibit b in 2015. In 2016, AteNine performed the work at the Joyce Theater in New York City as part of the American Dance Platform festival, which showcases emerging companies from across the U.S. In Exhibit b, dancers bound in fluid waves across the stage, complementing the playful rhythms of producer Walizadeh’s fusion of hip-hop and Iranian music. Born in Chicago, Ill., Walizadeh is based in Long Beach, Calif., where he has produced, mixed, and arranged his own tracks.

Danielle Agami and Glenn Kotche

The program continues with excerpts from vickie (2017), formerly titled Calling Glenn. In this East Coast premiere of the work, Agami and her company expose the complexities of intimacy and communication within personal, daily routines. The uninhibited nature of the work and its dynamic tempo changes allow the dancers to move through shapes that are simultaneously angular and fluid.

Percussionist Glenn Kotche collaborated with Agami to compose an original score for this work. In addition to being featured on five albums of the Grammy Award-winning band Wilco, Kotche appears on over 80 recordings for a variety of artists. Seattle Theatre Group and Velocity Dance Center premiered Calling Glenn in March 2017 at the Moore Theatre in Seattle, Washington, where Kotche accompanied AteNine with his live percussion. Megan Stevenson of Seattle Dances described the work as “unexpected and innovative,” adding that Forbes’s lighting “blurred the line between stage and seat,” while Kotche produced a “rich and varied” sound score. The performance acted as a homecoming for AteNine; the company was founded at Velocity Dance Center in 2012, and the arts center commissioned Agami’s first full-length piece, Sally Meets Stu, at that time. AteNine performed vickie at the Western Arts Alliance Juried Showcase at REDCAT in August 2016, a contemporary arts center in downtown Los Angeles.

Ate Nine (photo Cheryl Mann)

Since 2001, Glenn Kotche has been the rhythmic anchor in Wilco. He has appeared on over 80 recordings by artists as diverse as Andrew Bird, Edith Frost, Neil Finn and Radiohead’s Phil Selway, and he’s a founding member of two other bands — Loose Fur, with Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy and longtime collaborator Jim O’Rourke, and On Fillmore, with upright bassist Darin Gray. He has also written music for classical and post-classical ensembles like Kronos Quartet, the Silk Road Ensemble, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, So Percussion, eighth blackbird and many more.

Agami aims to share her knowledge of Gaga by engaging new audiences with a distinct artistic voice. Ohad Naharin developed the Gaga movement language in Israel after he was appointed the Artistic Director of Batsheva Dance Company in 1990. Gaga focuses on movement as a source of power and healing, and allows dancers to explore physical sensations within the body.


About AteNine

Danielle Agami, Israeli dancer and choreographer, trained at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance High School, and performed with Jerusalem’s Hora Dance Company. Agami was previously a member and rehearsal director of Ohad Naharin’s Batsheva Dance Company. From 2002–2005 she danced with Batsheva – The Young Ensemble, and soon after, became a member of the world-renowned Batsheva Dance Company in 2005. Agami then served as Batsheva’s rehearsal director from 2008–2010. From 2007–2009, she was the Artistic Director of Batsheva Dancers Create, a program that allows Naharin’s dancers to engage in their own artistic process of creating work. In 2011, Agami moved to New York City to serve as Senior Manager of Gaga U.S.A. and teach the Gaga movement language to American students and companies. Ora Brafman of the Jerusalem Post praises Agami as a “budding choreographer” with “intriguing imagination, well-developed craft and an eye for nuance.”

In 2012, Agami created AteNine (formerly Ate9dANCEcOMPANY) in Seattle, Washington, with the mission to evolve dance and reimagine its role in communities around the world. The dancers in AteNine hail from performing arts universities and companies predominantly on the West Coast, and many studied Gaga movement prior to joining AteNine.

After moving her company to Los Angeles in 2013, Agami found more opportunities to present her work, including debuts at the Los Angeles Theater Center, The Music Center, REDCAT Studio, The Industry Opera, Grand Park, Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Design for Sharing (UCLA), Celebrate Dance, The Krupnick Festival, CAP UCLA, and The LA Philharmonic Orchestra @ The Hollywood Bowl, among others.

Agami has set work on other notable contemporary companies as well, including her piece This Time Tomorrow for NW Dance Project, a company that also performs in the Doris Duke Theatre for Jacob’s Pillow’s 2017 season. In 2013 and 2014, Agami won the Grand Prize from the Annual Choreography Festival at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, California, and then won the Princess Grace Award in 2016. With this prize, Agami plans to create a new commissioned work for Visceral Dance Chicago.



Jacob’s Pillow Connections

AteNine performed as part of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival’s Inside/Out Series in 2016. Ohad Naharin’s work was first presented at Jacob’s Pillow by Nederlands Dans Theater 3 in 1994, and his own Batsheva Dance Company made its Jacob’s Pillow debut in 1995. In 2004, Batsheva Dance Company returned to perform Naharin’s DecaDance, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago performed Naharin’s work in 2001, 2003, 2007, and 2010. Naharin’s work was studied in the Contemporary Traditions program of The School at Jacob’s Pillow in 2002, 2012, and 2015.



Performance & Ticket Details

AteNine at Jacob’s Pillow

Doris Duke Theatre, July 26–30

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8:15pm

Saturday & Sunday at 2:15pm


A limited number of $20 Under 35 tickets are available; adults ages 18-35 are eligible. One ticket per person; each guest must show valid I.D. when picking up tickets at Will Call. Other discounts are available.


Tickets are on sale now; online at, via phone at 413.243.0745, and at the Jacob’s Pillow Box Office at 358 George Carter Road, Becket, MA, 01223.




Ballet Hispánico

Ted Shawn Theatre, July 26–30

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8pm

Thursday, Saturday, Sunday at 2pm

$78, $65, $45

Ballet Hispánico brings captivating style, crisp technique, and charismatic bravado to the Ted Shawn Theatre. “The versatile Ballet Hispánico dancers are exquisite” (The Washington Post). Ballet Hispánico offers the thrilling diversity of Latino culture—a fusion of classical, Latin, and contemporary dance. The program features the Pillow-commissioned and flamenco-inspired Línea Recta by Colombian-Belgian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, set to Spanish guitar by Eric Vaarzon Morel. Other works include Eduardo Vilaro’s Danzón, which features a contemporary take on the national dance of Cuba, and Gustavo Ramírez Sansano’s El Beso, a spirited look at the nuances of a kiss set to Spanish Zarzuela music. Tickets start at $45.




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