LeeSaar The Company, established in 2001 in Israel by Lee Sher and Saar Harari, relocated to NYC in 2004. The Company rehearses daily and creates new commissioned work every season. We invest daily in the development of our movement language and in the creative tools we employ to train our dancers. This, we believe, is the core of our work. This level of dedication enables us to put the dancer in the center of our creation. It allows the dancers freedom to reveal themselves on stage; to become not just interpreters, but inventors. It helps us to present ourselves with no barriers. Much of LeeSaar's process is based on the Gaga movement language developed by Ohad Naharin, Artistic Director of the Israeli dance company Bat Sheva. In our work we try to listen more than lead. The journey of making a dance piece is layered and complex. The more we invest in our daily training and the tool box of our dancers, the better we become as creators and in our ability to express and share.
Our work was commissioned and presented at: Peak performances @ Montclair State University, The Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival, Performance Space 122, TBA Portland Institute for Contemporary art (Oregon), 92nd St Y, La Mama, FuseBox Festival in Austin, TX and more.We received the Guggenheim Fellowship in choreography, the Six Points fellowship, the NYFA fellowship. We received funds and awards from the MAP Fund, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, The Greenwall Foundation and the New England Foundation for the Arts.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
LeeSaar The Company has been working on "grass and jackals" for more than a year. The last phase of this work is a collaboration with the lighting artist, Bambi. The work will feature LeeSaar’s seven creating dancers directed by Sher and Harari. "grass and jackals" will be a dance piece and a light spectacle that constantly pushes the physical and emotional boundaries of both the performers and the viewers. "grass and jackals" will move from one climax to the next, featuring music that creates an atmosphere of an unknown terrain. A complex and inventive movement language will be set within a choreographic structure that constantly shifts, exploring the connections between feelings and bodies in space. For "grass and jackals", Bambi will develop a unique, state-of-the-art lighting plot that will be active in the performance space; a structured light installation with its own groove and pace. These "live" lights will generate a state of alertness by creating a space that is unpredictable.
Lead commissioning and developmental support for "grass and jackals" has been provided by American Dance Festival, Mass MOCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) and The Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival. The work is supported by the production and touring fund from the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Dorris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Boeing Company Charitable Trust.
THE USE OF THE FUNDS
We are now entering the last phase of this process that started more than a year ago, a technical residency at MASS MOCA. It will be two weeks long and involve twelve artists plus a stage crew of twelve. This is a very unique opportunity for a dance company to have a two weeks of technical time to explore new possibilities in production and make the transition from the studio to the stage. LeeSaar has collaborated with Bambi in their most recent work, FAME, through a technical residency at Montclair University’s Kasser Theater for the Peak Performance Series. We feel that his process deserves more space and time and could influence our work more significantly. The funds will pay for flights, hotels and pier-diems, ground transportation, light equipment rentals and pay the twelve incredibly talented artists.
Lee Sher (Co Artistic Director) began her acting career at the age of seven, performing on Israeli television. At the age of 15, she was accepted to the High School of Arts in Tel Aviv. Lee joined the Israeli Army at 18, and served in the parachuters unit. Following her Army service, Lee studied at the three-year acting studio of Nisan Native in Tel Aviv. She received scholarships from the American-Israeli Foundation with excellence between the years 1998-2000. In 2000, Lee established LeeSaar The Company with Saar Harari. The Company received a scholarship from the Mosman Art Gallery in Sydney, Australia where she wrote and directed the play, "Ester." The play was selected to open the spring season of the City Hall Theater of Tel Aviv and was performed there for two years. Lee moved to New York City with LeeSaar the Company and received the American green card for extraordinary achievement in the performing arts. She is a NYFA fellow in choreography. Sher also worked as physical director on the Broadway revival of "The Miracle Worker." She is a certified Gaga teacher.
Saar Harari (Co Artistic Director) was born on a farm in Israel to an artistic family and danced until the age of 18. At that age, he joined the Israeli Army and served in the special forces for 6 years. At the age of 24, he left the Army and returned to the dance world, dancing with several Israeli choreographers. After two years, he created his first work as an independent choreographer for a dance festival at Suzann Dalal Center in Tel Aviv. In 2000, he established LeeSaar The Company with Lee Sher. In February 2004, Saar moved to New York City with LeeSaar the Company and received an American green card for extraordinary achievement in the art of dance. He is a Six Point Fellow from 2007-09, Guggenheim Fellow 2008, NYFA Fellow 2008. Saar is a Gaga teacher and manager of Gaga/USA.
Avi Yona Bueno, Bambi (Lighting Designer) began his career as a lighting designer for rock concerts. He has designed shows for international stars including Nina Simone, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, and Chick Corea. In the 1980s, Bambi moved to London, where he worked for the Pink Floyd lighting company and Britannia Row Productions. He also did lighting design for Meatloaf and toured Europe with popular artists including The Cure, The Commodores, and the Thompson Twins. Upon his return to Israel, Bambi began designing for the theater. He worked with prestigious repertory theaters such as the Cameri Theatre and the Habima National Theatre as well as fringe and experimental theater productions. Bambi currently serves as the resident lighting designer for the Gesher Theatre and the avant-garde Itim Theatre Ensemble. He has been widely acclaimed for his impact on the field of lighting design in theater and was honored with numerous awards including the 1995 Moshe Halevi Tel Aviv Prize for transforming lighting design into an art form. In 1992, Bambi began designing for dance with Batsheva Dance Company, where he is Resident Lighting Designer. Bambi has lit productions for such renowned dance companies as the Cullberg Ballet, Carte Blanche, Nederlans Dans Theater, Paris Opera Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Bambi’s lighting has also illuminated numerous operas, musicals, stadium productions, television productions, museum installations, and architectural projects. He is in the process of developing his Tel Aviv studio for creating lighting installations.
Jye-Hwei Lin (dancer) was born in the year of the pig in Taiwan. Her parents sent her to dance classes according to a doctor’s suggestion as a way to correct the hyperextension of her knees. She enrolled in the dance division in Tso-ying high school at the age of 15. After high school, Lin chose to move to the US to pursue the bachelor degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she was awarded scholarship for four years. Through her time in Illinois, she cried through the phase of "not-understand-a-word", she fought her way to search for the difference between an artist and a student, she sweated both inside and outside of the studio. She had the privilege to be in the works of world-renowned artists such as Mark Morris, Lar Lubovitch, Chamecki Lerner, and Merce Cunningham. The diversity of courses in the department challenged and inspired Lin's way of moving and thinking. She presented a solo work “Come to Nothing” and her thesis “One Step Back; Two Steps Forward” at the Krannert Arts Performing Center. Upon graduation, she moved to New York in the summer of 2006. Lin was fortunate to study and perform with Stephen Petronio dance Company in New York and California. In April, 2007, she joined LeeSaar the Company. In 2008, Lin presented her own work “Jula” with Hsin-Yi Hsiang at Judson Memorial Church, NYC. Lin received her O1 Visa for extraordinary ability in the arts in June 2008 and again in 2011. She is a Company teacher and a Gaga teacher.
Hsin-Yi Hsiang (dancer) from Kaohsiung, Taiwan, began her extensive dance training and received her high school diploma from Tsoying Senior High School. She soon relocated to the United States where she received her bachelor of fine arts in dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in 2007. During her time at UIUC, she performed in works created by Merce Cunningham, Mark Morris, David Parker & The Bang Group, Sara Hook, Cynthia Oliver, Renee Wadleigh, Linda Lehovec, and Rebecca Nettl-Fiol. Since moving to New York City in 2007, she was selected to perform with the Mark Morris Dance Group in their 2007 season of “The Hard Nut”. Hsiang Joined LeeSaar The Company in Fall 2007 and received her O1 Visa for extraordinary ability in the arts in September 2008 and again in 2011. She is a Company teacher and a Gaga teacher.
Hyerin Lee (dancer) was born and raised in Seoul, Korea. She received her Bachelor and Master degree in dance from the Korea National University of Arts. In 2007, she joined LDP dance company where she toured internationally. In 2008, she did a project with Gilles Jobin in Switzerland and then joined LeeSaar The Company and moved to NYC. Lee received her O1 Visa for extraordinary ability in the arts in 2009.
Candice Schnurr (dancer) grew up in Houston, TX and received her early training from the Houston Ballet Academy and Priscilla Nathan-Murphy. She attended the High School for Performing and Visual Arts and was the recipient of the Musicfest Scholarship. Candice graduated cum laude from the Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase College where she had the pleasure of performing in the works of Kyle Abraham, Kayvon Pourazar, Megan Williams, and Kevin Wynn. She danced with Natalie Green, Miriam Wolfe, Leah Morrison, Daniel Charon, and Andrea Haenggi. She was a member of Wil Swanson/DANCEWORKS from 2003-2005 and had the unique opportunity to perform in BAM’s production of Lost Objects, an oratorio written by Bang on a Can and staged by Francois Girard. From 2005-2007, Candice worked with Ellis Wood Dance. Candice was selected for “The Yard” dance company and collaborated in the creation of two original works with Sharon Moore (Toronto) and Howard Katz (Berlin) at the 2008 summer residency. She was honored to join LeeSaar the Company in the fall of 2008. Her own work, Solo, was selected for BAX’s 2009 inaugural season of the Upstart Festival and she collaborated in “The Soft Light Signature,” a video and movement study with STOMP alum and video artist, Patrick Lovejoy. Schnurr is a Company teacher and a Gaga teacher
Amy Dressendorfer (dancer) was born and raised in Edmonton, Canada and grew up dancing with Shelley’s Dance Company, Cecchetti Dance Theater, and Sally Ogden. After graduating from Victoria School of the Arts she moved to San Francisco to further her training at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance. While there, she joined Christian Burns new company, burns: work, and was involved in projects with Alex Ketley’s company, The Foundry. She joined Leesaar The Company and moved to NYC in the summer of 2011.
Isabel Umali (dancer) was born in Oakland, California and received her early dance training at Berkeley Ballet Theater. Isabel graduated cum laude from the Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase where she had the pleasure of working with choreographers such as Nelly van Bommel, Steven Petronio, and Megan Williams. She also worked with choreographers Bradley Shelver and Loni Landon as well as the Hoover Dam Collective and JUNTOS collective, which gave her the opportunity to perform nationally and internationally. Isabel received a scholarship for the 2012 Pilobolus summer intensive and has since worked for Pilobolus Creative Service projects. She joined LeeSaar The Company in the fall of 2012.
Motrya Kozbur (dancer) grew up in River Forest, IL and began her training in ballet and Ukrainian dance. She performed with Hromovytsia Ukrainian Dance Ensemble in the United States and Europe. Kozbur received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Boston Conservatory. There she danced in works by José Limón, James Viera, Alwin Nikolais, and Thang Dao, among others. She participated in Springboard Danse Montréal 2012 where she performed the work of Danielle Russo and Marie Chouinard. She joined LeeSaar The Company in the fall of 2012.
Naomi Luppescu (costume designer) is a costume designer and dancer based in NYC. She received her BFA in Dance from SUNY Purchase in 2004. She studied fashion design at FIT and at the Danish Design School in Copenhagen and has since started her costume design company, NaLu Designs (www.naludesigns.net). Luppescu has worked with companies such as Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Lucinda Childs Dance, Shen Wei Dance Arts, Nina Winthrop and Dancers, Murray Spalding Mandalas, Jessica Morgan among others.
Risks and challenges
Our only risk is not raising the funds to complete the final phase of the this project.
The residency is in place and all artists and collaborators are in place.
The premier and tours are in place.
At this time, we depend on your generosity to compete this process.
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