Baroness Batsheva de Rothschild, of the famous Rothschild family, was born in France and studied biology in both Paris and New York. While in New York, she studied dance and became an ardent admirer of Martha Graham. De Rothschild moved to Israel and in 1964 founded the Batsheva Dance Company. The company's style of modern dance drew heavily upon Martha Graham's techniques and Graham in fact served as its first artistic advisor. Soon after, de Rothschild opened up the Batsheva Dance Studios, and in 1968 founded the Bat-Dor Dance Company, which was linked to the studios. American Choreographer Jeanette Ordman served as director of both the company and the studios.
De Rothschild is also famous for her extensive philanthropic work, including her establishment of two foundations to advance science and technology in Israel. For her special contribution to Israeli society, she was awarded the Israel Prize in 1989.