Leesaar The Company
Her: I had expectations. I had ideas of what it might be like, a small Israeli by way of New York performance company. I thought of Batsheva Dance Company, of Inbal Pinto, modern Israeli dance at its beautiful and strangest. TBA and expectations are a bad combo, I knew better but I still had, well, some preconceived notion of what we were going to see. The half naked woman, standing on the stage, moving slowly in the stark brightly lit silence shattered my expectations. And she didn’t really look Israeli. I was distracted by her dark areolas dotting her body, fluttering through the space. Her breasts jumping and keeping time in the silence and while the music surrounded us.
This solo was interrupted by founding member of the company Lee Sher, singing along with a blasting Hebrew pop/love song. It reminded me of dancing in a Israeli bomb shelter turned disco, fighting off drunken Macabee beer swilling kibbutzniks. She was absolutely hilarious. Milking the adoration of the crowd as if she were actually a pop star, barely containing the smirk hiding behind her far away gaze. I laughed hard at the ridiculous nature of the performance, belting out Israeli love songs to the goyim of Portland, Oregon.
Saar Harati, the other founding member of the company joined on stage the naked woman (dancer Jye-Hwei Lin). He threw off his shirt and stood there on the plainly lit stage, clad in only a tight pair of jeans. The gyrations of the sexy Israeli brought a whole new level of eroticism to the piece. The woman without a shirt distracted me from enjoying her movement, the man without a shirt, acting seductively, totally turned me on.
Him: There really wasn’t any part of the performance I didn’t like. I was entranced, not only by the dancers’ beautiful bodies, but by their lithe, athletic, movements. A few times during the performance, I suddenly realized I had stopped breathing, as if the yogistic – is that a word? – tone of the movement had extended itself to control over my breathing, too.
The song interludes – Hebrew pop songs about breakups and longing, belted out pop-diva style by Lee Sher, as if she was auditioning for Eurovision, were deliberately playful, and hilarious – but also complemented the seriousness of the dancing, seeming to reflect the inside/ outside dynamic of the relationship between two people.
It was an interesting choice to sing in Hebrew – the company, though Israeli, is based in New York and does not normally perform for Israeli audiences – suggesting that it wasn’t the lyrics to the songs that mattered, but the way they were presented. On the other hand, the intricate interweave of movement between the dancers and their identical dress – jeans and topless, created a sense of equality between the two genders, which never culminated in any physical contact between them. Far from being distracted by the woman dancer’s topless body, I was deeply drawn in to the close observation of her every movement, the identical outfits granting her body an equivalence in freedom of athleticism to the man’s.
Ariel Frager and Seth Needler are a married pair of PICA junkies.