For LeeSaar The Company’s Grass and Jackals at The Joyce Theater (February 9), the landscape is sleek animalistic brawn to the core. Each dancer is, without doubt, a standout technician and performer. In glossy black unitards and Groucho Marx-like eyebrows, the seven “creating dancers” as they are called, people the stage in lush solos and groupings from beginning to end. Sprinkling the hour-long work is Ohad Naharin’s Gaga technique (the directors Lee Sher and Saar Harari are teachers of Gaga), a movement style meant for dancers and non-dancers alike, and which allows the body to contort into unpredictable and unbelievable shapes. For example, from a wide stance, in Grass and Jackals, knees collapse inwards and out of alignment, or shoulders and hips concave, rippling from joint to joint then right themselves. Conversely, these razor-sharp technicians can easily lift a leg from the floor far past a shoulder, or capture a balance out of nowhere. They also hover on all fours, convulse their backs, slither when they walk, offer erratic jerks, stand and stare, mouth some chatter or grin widely, mixing the slick Gaga movement canon with their jackal-like persona. One other eye-catching moment comes when from lying very still on their backs, in a flash they dissolve into a split, wrap their arms around their chests and stick out their tongues. A surprise comes close to the end when one dancer peels off the glossy black unitard to reveal a yellow one—a new day? The creating dancers are: Jye-Hwei Lin, Hsin-Yi Hsiang, Candice Schnurr, Hyerin Lee, Isabel Umali Motrya Kozbur and Delphina Parenti. Avi Yona Bueno’s perfectly timed colorful moiré striations shaped the atmosphere for Grass and Jackals.
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I am a performer, historian, consultant and dance writer. I am a faculty member at Hunter College, Sarah Lawrence College (Guest), Empire State College's online program Center for Distance Learning. I am also a former faculty member of The Ailey School and the Alvin Ailey/Fordham University dance major program, Kean University and The Joffrey Ballet School's Jazz and Contemporary Trainee Program. I write on dance for The Amsterdam News, Dance Magazine and various publications. Click below to read more about me at my home page - "About Me."