february

The Annex

December 4 - 14, 2008
Thursday - Saturday at 7:30pm
Sunday at 5:00pm

Tickets $25

LeeSaar The Company



"The double bill “February,” by LeeSaar the Company, is worth seeing"
- Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times

2008 Guggenheim and NYFa Fellows, LeeSaar The Company Known for incorporating theatrical elements into their dance, February is the newest evolution in LeeSaar’s productions – a seductive, aggressive, evocative evening with two distinct pieces.  In February, the company will present two works: Little Island, a 30 minute play, and One Day, a 30 minute dance piece.

In Little Island, a cold winter day in New York City sets the stage as a woman touches on the meaning of loneliness in a surrealistic world.  The original play, written by and starring Lee Sher, uses theatrical language based on the physical image method, stimulating latent senses and instincts.

One Day is a dramatic and compelling visual and cerebral dance performed by Jye-Hwei Lin (who performed in LeeSaar’s Geisha) and Hsin-Yi Hsiang. One Day uses explosive power and carefully crafted movements to develop awareness of body and space.  

LeeSaar The Company was established in Israel in 2000 by the actress and writer Lee Sher and the dancer/choreographer Saar Harari. The company uses the different disciplines and training of theater and dance to create original theater and dance performances.

In 2004, after residency in Sydney, Australia, and two seasons in Tel Aviv, the company moved to New York City, where it is currently based.  In 2005, Lee and Saar received American green cards awarded for excellence in the performing arts. 

Performance Space 122 commissioned and presented the work of the company, "Herd Of Bulls,” on October 2005 and in January 2006.  Following these two successful seasons, the company was invited to create new work for a long run at Performance Space 122 (September-October 2006 and January 2007).

The company was invited to open the Harkness Dance Festival at The Alvin Ailey Theater in February 2007 and was asked to return to the festival in March 2008 to present the new work, “Geisha.”

Lee and Saar received the Six Points Fellowship for 2007-2008 and were nominated for the Alpert Award in Dance 2008.

They are 2008 NYFA Fellows and 2008 Guggenheim Fellows.

For more information about the company please visit:   http://www.leesaar.com/

Here's what critics have said about LeeSaar The Company: 

“Geisha,” by LeeSaar The Company, is a trio with a sexy, raw edge that belies an underlying sense of vulnerability. 
-The New Yorker –2008 

“Ms. Sher and Mr. Harari, the directors of LeeSaar the Company, slowly and methodically build a world that is claustrophobic in its intensity.  LeeSaar’s dances always require unwavering attention, they are powerful. “Geisha” is one of their strongest and most fascinating excursions into territory whose physical and emotional atmospheres are a coolly seething whole.
-Jennifer Dunning - The NY Times -2008 

“It begins with a stunning solo by a stunning woman… She can do something as small as touch her fingers to her mouth, and meanings explode in your mind.  She never loses the specificity of being in the moment—aware of the space around her and how she fits into it.  Remarkable, not exactly like anything you’ve ever seen…  
-The Village Voice -2008

“The Israeli contemporary choreographers Saar Harari and Lee Sher moved to New York two years ago and promptly made a name for themselves”  
- The New Yorker -2005

“I was amazed at the end of the piece just how sucked in to the drama I had become. I’ve seen a good amount of modern dance but never anything so deliberate, passionate and amazing as Leesarr’s Geisha. This is the kind of work that could awaken a love for modern dance.” Oregon Arts & Culture

LeeSaar the Company, a gutsy, brainy modern-dance troupe founded seven years ago in Tel Aviv... They fall, rise and inch across the floor as if wounded, slipping through quick bursts of emotions.  The choreographer’s ingenious plotting and moving of bodies in space creates a fugue of small, transitory arrivals as the dancers spill out and charge through the subtle, atmospheric..."  
- The NY Times- 2005 

Movement modulates from leopard stealth to precise ensemble drills to electrifying explosiveness.  Finally, dance a government can love—a soul-feeding killing machine. 
- The Village Voice by Susan Yung -2005 

"There’s no fat on this dance. Sher and Harari strike a curious balance between explosive action and delicate reflective moments. Even seductive moments dot the terse climate. Still, the atmosphere feels fearful and unsafe; there’s no rest for the weary here... There’s a curious rhythm to their work—the way things start and abruptly stop. It’s both effective and unsettling, yet always engaging. The performers—ferocious all—never let a second go to waste. Sher and Harari don’t just grab your attention; they wrestle it to the ground.” 
-CultureVulture.net -2007 

This herd Of Bulls could have rushed close enough to trample us or spray us with sweat. At one point, feeling their dancing in my gut, I experienced a sharp, involuntary contraction. Even the dancers’ audible breathing made me wince and cringe. No place to retreat, not even somewhere in one’s head. let’s see what’s next for these intrepid artists.”
- On line Eva Yaa Asantewaa -2005

“Geisha has extraordinarily confident solo turns by Jye-Hwei Lin–topless in jeans and full of vivid, cinematic characters–who also duets with the always provocative and brooding (and identically-attired) Harari. Sher wears a kimono-like robe in her interspersed solos. Resembling a cross between Carrie Fisher and Celine Dion, she lipsyncs a couple of Israeli pop songs, regarding us with oodles of saccharine “sincerity” and strolling past the front row, grabbing our hands. Sher’s tackiness stands in contrast to her equally showy yet cool and really out there colleagues. The lighting by Joe Levasseur on bare flesh is–no big surprise–terrific.”
- Eva Yaa Asantewaa -2008

The New York Times Review
by Roslyn Sulcas

The double bill “February,” by LeeSaar the Company, is worth seeing for an important reason: it’s a lesson in the way theatrical lighting can transform a dance work. It’s worth seeing for other reasons too, notably the dancers Jye-Hwei Lin and Hsin-Yi Hsiang in “One Day,” the second part of the piece, by Lee Sher and Saar Harari.

The first part, “Little Island,” is a play written and performed by Ms. Sher, who trained as an actress. Seen on Saturday night at La MaMa E.T.C., it’s a mysterious portrait of an isolated woman who repeatedly calls the police. When a policeman (Walker Lewis) finally turns up, her complaint turns out to be that it is “too quiet.”

This is clearly supposed to have existential implications, but “Little Island” remains stylized and willfully surreal without ever coming to life in a way that allows us to feel anything for the rather obviously named Martha Who.

The subsequent dance section, “One Day,” is equally opaque, but rather more compelling. This is due largely to Joe Levasseur’s extraordinarily beautiful lighting, which flares and glows in unexpected bursts or swells of light and dark across the stage, lending a poetic mystery to the explosive martial-arts kicks and undulating bodies of Ms. Lin and Ms. Hsiang.

The repetitiveness of the movement vocabulary and even pacing of “One Day,” set to Mozart as well as jazz and electronic music, mean it palls toward the end. But Mr. Levasseur’s lighting gives the work a fascinating theatricality and rhythm, and the focused interiority shown by Ms. Lin and Ms. Hsiang is never less than remarkable to watch.

 


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