ANYTHING BUT PRIMA: LEE SAAR AT P.S. 122

prima

Reviewed by Christopher Atamian

The actress Lee Scher and her partner-choreographer Saar Harari belong to a generation of Israeli choreographers who have all been influenced to a greater or lesser degree by the immensely talented Ohad Naharin and his “Gaga” dance technique.  While I quite like Batsheva and Naharin, many of the choreographers that have followed in his wake, including Inbal Pinto and Lee Saar, have left me indifferent at best.  In Prima, four performers Jye-Hwei Lin, Hsin-Yi Hsiang, Hyerin Lee, and Candice Schnurr-all quite graceful and talented-dance around the stage, gesticulate, crawl and otherwise shake legs, arms and booties for the better part of forty-five minutes to a mix by d.j. filastine, Latino club music, and a fado or Arabic-inspired Spanish fusion of wailing and techno.  Sometimes they also crawl around in complete silence.

The highlight of the piece comes every so often when one of the dancers yells out her name, introducing herself to a somewhat weary audience.  At times the rather stock movement seemed influenced by break, rave, krump and even pole dancing, and at others it looked simply like random movement. I will not attempt to deduce the theoretical hermeneutics that I imagine may underlie this rather hermetic, uninspired choreography-what it either signified or meant is beyond me; on an aesthetic level it was rather bland as well.  Part of a critic’s job of course is to evaluate how close a choreographer or artist on comes to achieving his or her (stated) goals-in this context Lee Saar’s Prima was, I suppose, more or less successful.  But if a performance falls flat both theoretically and aesthetically then what, one wonders, is the viewer meant to take away from it?

Seen on November 22nd.

Photo taken from Broadway World.

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