February 9, 2014
LeeSaar the company made its Joyce Theater debut Saturday evening with the 55 minute “Grass and Jackals.” Founded in 2000 by choreographers and partners in life Lee Sher and Saar Harari, the company resides in Brooklyn and cultivates their movement based on the Gaga (created by Ohad Naharin) style and principals. Gaga in simplest terms focuses on sensations and a fluid continuation of those senses. For instance if you take a very cold shower your body naturally reacts with movement generated by sensations you’re feeling instead of movement derived from a circuitous place.
In the downstage corner of the stage, a young woman with emphasized black, bushy eyebrows and a black body suit meticulously unravels her toes, stretching to point them but never reaching a full arch. She maneuvers into a precarious, sexual position, hip flexors on the ground, legs in a frog like shape and upper body stretched up, she flashes a forced smile.
The rest of the all female cast enters and what proceeds is a mixture of body shaking, street meets strut walking, and high developpes. Lighting and stage designer Bambi turns the backdrop into a textured red as “Princess Crocodile,” plays and each dancer assumes the provocative pose from the opening except this time staring directly towards the audience.
Jye-Hwei Li, captivating and deeply in her element, was the most featured dancer. At one point she appears in a yellow bodysuit and at the end strips off her black suit to reveal a copper colored suit underneath. The rest of the group, all fairly young, was filled with talent and potential. They support one another well and each have individual moments to shine.
Sher and Harari are on to something, and their performance at the Joyce marks a fresh take for dance audiences. However, at times the piece did drag on, but suddenly would be saved with another light change or the remarkable ending. In the last few moments, string began to fall from the ceiling covering downstage from left to right. As more of it toppled, it gave the image of a transparent waterfall, in what I’m later told is actually strings of hot glue. LeeSarr has a vision; its work is just in need of some edits and fine-tuning.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Bailey Moon