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Bat-Dor Dance Company, Tel Aviv

Bethsabée Louise Emilie Beatrix de Rothschild (later Batsheva) (1914-1999) was the youngest child of Edouard and Germaine de Rothschild. Brought up and educated in Paris she studied Biology at the Sorbonne and later Biochemistry at Columbia University, New York. In 1940 she moved with her parents to New York. After the war Bethsabée attended a few of Martha Graham’s dance classes and became a friend of Graham’s and a patron of her Dance Company, helping her to buy the school’s building on East 63rd Street, New York largely through her newly established ‘Batsheva de Rothschild Foundation for Arts and Sciences’ and in 1955 sponsored the Martha Graham dance Company’s tour  to the Far East. In 1949 she also published La danse artistique aux USA: tendances modernes.

In 1964 Bethsabée established the Batsheva Dance Company (a dance troupe and school) with the help of Martha Graham and founded on her principles of dance. Around 1967 she met and became friends with Jeanette Ordman, a classically trained ballet dancer, and wanted to install her as Artistic Director at Batsheva Dance Company but this received strong opposition from within the organisation which caused a rift between Bethsabée and the Batsheva Dance Company and led to the foundation, with Jeanette Ordman, of the Bat Dor Dance Company in 1968.

Bat-Dor made its debut in 1968 with Ordman as its leading dancer. Israel "El" Gabriel was assistant director of the company. The company had a large repertoire of modern works. Among the international choreographers who worked with Bat Dor are Antony Tudor, Rudy van Dantzig, Lar Lubovitch, Alvin Ailey, Judith Jamison, Luciano Cannito, Hans van Manen, Martha Graham, Jiri Killian and Israelis Domy Reiter-Soffer, Igal Perry and Ido Tadmor. Guest dancers included American Lawrence Leritz and the Italian Walter Cinquinella. In 1971, the company moved to a purpose built theatre,  the Bat Dor Dance Center, Tel Aviv. The company was dissolved in July 2006.

In 2014, Batsheva’s Jubilee Year, the company inaugurated an archive documenting its fifty years of existence, creating a resource for the documentation and preservation of archival material relating to Israeli dance, and dance research in general, The Batsheva Archive »

Bat-Dor Dance Company, promotional material, c.1980-1997

000/617; 000/1801, 12 items

Collection of published promotional material concerning the Bat-Dor Dance Company: four posters (all different) advertising productions, c.1980-1988; six programmes for productions, 1980s; book Bat-Dor, a tribute to Jeanette Ordman, 1990; Bilingual English-Hebrew souvenir programme A Tribute to Batsheva de Rothschild, July 6, 1997.  Contains tributes to Batsheva and the Bat-Dor Dance Company, photographs, and a few words by Batsheva entitled 'How I function'. For other photographs and albums relating to the Batsheva Dance Company, the Bat-Dor Dance Company, and the Bat-Dor Dance Theatre, including publicity photographs, production photographs, tour photographs and other production images, see 000/1825, Bethsabée (Batsheva) de Rothschild (1914-1999): collection of photographs.