Choreography: Lee Sher & Saar Harari
Creating dancers: Jye-Hwei Lin, Hsin-Yi Hsiang, Hyerin Lee, Candice Schnurr.
Music: From the album “Dirty Boom” by DJ Filastine
Light Design: Joe Levasseur
Costumes: Coco Bofo
Stage Manager: Andy Janbek
“Prima” was developed through residencies at the JCC in Manhattan and the FuseBox Festival with the support of TesPerformanceTest.
Special thanks to
- Julie Thornton and TestPerformanceTest.
- Vallejo Gantner and Performance Space 122
- Karen Sander and the JCC in Manhattan
- Ron Berry and the FuseBox Festival
- Elise Bernhardt and The Foundation for Jewish Culture
- Renee Schreiber – The Office of Cultural Affairs, Consulate General of Israel in NY
- Ron Kassab and Ergo Physical Therapy.
Creation Production: LeeSaar The Company
Co-Production: Performance Space 122 NYC , The JCC in Manhattan, TestPerformceTest Austin TX, The FuseBox Festival, Austin TX.
With major funding from: The Greenwall Foundation, The Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography, The Office of Cultural Affairs, Consulate General of Israel in NY
“Hsin-Yi Hsiang arched her back and pressed her hands into her ribcage. With her rear sticking out in stark exaggeration, she made her way toward the back of the darkened stage by wiggling her hips in a manner more ferocious than sensual. At times, it was as if she were possessed by outside forces or aftershocks; in other moments, she seemed to be going through the motions.” – The NY Times
“The dancers—Jye-Hwei Lin, Hsin-Yi Hsiang, Hyerin Lee, and Candice Schnurr—are simply breathtaking. Three very petite women and a third whose athletic physique might be described as ever-so-slightly more Baccanale than Balanchine, they move with fervent intensity and ease. Several sequences of Prima take place in absolute silence and feature periods of magnificent stillness; launching out of these moments, the perfect synchronicity of the company is a thing of wonder. They seem almost preternatural, able to perceive one another’s movement utilizing a sense not granted mere mortals.” – nytheatre.com
“In its emotional nakedness, free-associative logic, and frank sensuality, the work of the Israeli-born couple Lee Sher and Saar Harari still bares traces of Ohad Naharin. That’s not a bad model, especially when the movement is so inventive and arresting. In “Prima,” four women stare down the audience, strike poses, shake, and speak their names. These prima donnas aren’t high maintenance; the production’s flaws lie in the episodic structure not made any more coherent by the soundtrack: globe-hopping beats and leftist sound bites compiled by the d.j. Filastine. – The New Yorker
“The world premiere of “Prima” brought back Israeli choreographers Saar Harari and Lee Sher for their fourth show at PS122, a good space for the starkness of the work. The set was three industrial chairs lined against the back of the stage. The lights, a harsh mix designed by Joe Levasseur, were relentless. Nothing was made gentle in this motion, and the shock of moving in and out of blackness and spotlight was not softened any more than the movement choices. – Dance Veiw Times
“PRIMA”, a co-production of Performance Space 122, the JCC in Manhattan, Fusebox Festival and testperformancetest (Austin TX)
November 23, 2009
“Prima”LeeSaar The Company
PS 122 New York, NY
November 19, 2009
By Martha Sherman
You wouldn’t want to meet any of them in a dark alley. In the stark setting of PS122, the four fierce dancers of LeeSaar The Company showed their power and cohesion. Though alone with their demons, in coming together, each of their particular shakes were calmed and their frenzy turned into powerful smooth movement. They became a force to be reckoned with.
The world premiere of “Prima” brought back Israeli choreographers Saar Harari and Lee Sher for their fourth show at PS122, a good space for the starkness of the work. The set was three industrial chairs lined against the back of the stage. The lights, a harsh mix designed by Joe Levasseur, were relentless. Nothing was made gentle in this motion, and the shock of moving in and out of blackness and spotlight was not softened any more than the movement choices.The piece opened with a solo by Hsin-Yi Hsiang, jerking wildly to musical yelling, as she shook, kicked, and traversed the wide space in strong angry strides with raised fist and pained, jagged movement. After an abrupt blackout, Jye-Hwei Lin emerged, tall and angled, her movements more vertical, and Candace Schnurr and Hyerin Lee joined for a parade to a strong silent beat that the four women created and maintained. This was the first of several architectural formations of the foursome. Their straight lines became diagonals, and periodically they moved off and back in balance, one dancer holding one side of the stage with her movement while two or three stood motionless on the opposite side.Early on, three of the dancers sat on the chairs, dragging them forward, crossing and uncrossing legs, seductive with a catlike alertness. Lin moved in parallel to her seated partners, but she stood, using the length of her limbs to hold the crossed balances. None of them let down their guards, and they watched out for each other, sometimes almost hidden by the black curtains serving as wings. The world was not safe for them. As the vocal track droned about sleepwalking and a “sterilized atmosphere,” their graceful undulations melted, and the dancers did floor postures on the diagonal, resembling yoga half-twists, one leg extended, the other angled over in a combination of recumbent and energized.The dancers rarely leapt or jumped. Instead, the combinations of wriggling, jerking, kicking were broken by moving down closer to the floor. In a mesmerizing closing sequence, the four women slithered on their bellies straight toward the audience, in one strong line. As they approached the deeply raked seats, their eyes met ours in defiance. We were the edge of the line of their bodies’ sharp, steep angles.The music, from “Dirty Boom” by DJ Filastine (described as a “political activist and artist,”) was a mix of the cacophony of street sounds, the whistles of a police action, claps, bells, and equally melodious erotic vocals with rhythmic beats. All of this, mixed with long silences, challenged the audience to be still and watch. Surprises awaited around all corners. The musical choices made the most overtly political connections, but in the dancers’ struggle to maintain their power, it was hard not to presume the choreographers’ message about larger conflicts. Each dancer had her own particular struggle, and moved in ways that were only hers. In their only direct vocalizations, each dancer identified herself (“I am Candace,” Schnurr huffed at the end of a seductive prance), but an occasional silent scream was a reminder that each had much more to say, and that there was more to hear. – copyright © 2009 by Martha Sherman