It sounds oxymoronic, but Israel's Batsheva Dance Company is a venerable contemporary-dance company. Established in 1964 with help from no less than modern-dance legend Martha Graham, the ensemble has a long and triumphant track record as a cultural ambassador (a role U.S. dance companies used to play, too, once upon a time). Directed by choreographer Ohad Naharin since 1990, Batsheva dancers combine superlative technique with adventurous spirit, traits visible in Naharin's newest, MAX. Exploring the possibilities of a 10-dancer ensemble, MAX runs approximately one hour without intermission and features an original score composed and performed by Maxim Waratt. When MAX was staged last October, Australian dance critic Stephanie Glickman described it as “tribal” and named it her favorite event of the two-week Melbourne International Arts Festival.

Sat., Feb. 28, 8 p.m.; Sun., March 1, 7 p.m., 2009

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