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Louise Lecavalier – Ikon of contemporary dance

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Impressing and outstanding. Different and unique. Particular and herself. These are some words that come in my mind when I think of Louise Lecavalier who I was honored to see dancing on Friday night in the European Center of Arts Dresden „Hellerau“. How can a person have so much energy, express her story by an incomparable sharing dance and amaze me so much, that I was not able to close my mouth during her 65 minutes of dance?

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How did she do that? No, she did not change her clothes all 10 minutes from rocker to sexy to colorful. She didn’t use props or songs that everybody knows. No. What she did was dancing her own choreography with a story that was easy to understand only when you are able to forget everything you know from show dance where music, costumes and smiling or sad faces reveal very clearly the story. Forget about all that and watch her dancing. Look at the scene: a square dance flooring which spends very clear borders which are crossed by the dancers from time to time with no caution and no hurry, just very naturally. And then you see the high wall at the and of the square flooring. But Battleground doesn’t care about walls. The two dancers use it as a very normal part of the stage and roll themselves over the floor using the wall as a welcome and simple part during their move.

Dance Company : Fou Glorieux Title english : BATTLEGROUND Titre français: Mille Batailles Choreographer : Louise Lcavalier Dancers: Louise Lecavalier & Rob AbuboPhoto: André Cornellier

Dance Company : Fou Glorieux Title english : BATTLEGROUND Titre français: Mille Batailles Choreographer : Louise Lcavalier Dancers: Louise Lecavalier & Rob AbuboPhoto: André Cornellier

What I liked very much was the simple clothes of the three artists: the dancers Louise Lecavalier and Robert Abubo and the live DJ Antoine Berthiaume wore black. That helps to focus on the choreography, the incredible and fantastic light design show by Alain Lortie and great beat of the contemporary electronic live music – I should mention that Lecavalier’s dance company Fou glorieux (glorious madman) comes from Montreal – a capital for contemporary and nonstandard music. Montreal is a colorful, wild and open city with a very innovating art scene – and it is hometown and home of Louise Lecavalier.

Battleground_MilleBatailles_Katja Illner_1Photo: Katja Illner

Who is Louise Lecavalier? What should surprise everybody who saw her dancing is the fact that she was born in 1958. She grew up in Montreal in the Canadian Province Quebec. At the age of 15, she decided to become a dancer and became three years later part of the company Groupe Nouvelle Aire where she met the choreographer Édouard Lock. In 1981, they founded La La La Human Steps, travelled around the world with this dance company and became very popular. In 1990, Lecavalier played the leading female part in David Bowie’s music video Fame. In 2010, she was awarded the Order of Canada. Her first dance choreography So blue premiered in 2012 in Düsseldorf (Germany).  Battleground premiered this month in the same city and was inspired by Italo Calvino’s Il cavaliere inesistente (1959; The Nonexisting Knight). She still lives with her family in Montreal. As Montréalaise, she speaks French and English, but has also very good other language skills as for example in German.

Battleground_Mille_Batailles_Katja_Illner_5Photo: Katja Illner

Dance Company : Fou Glorieux Title english : BATTLEGROUND Titre français: Mille Batailles Choreographer : Louise Lcavalier Dancers: Louise Lecavalier & Rob AbuboPhoto: André Cornellier

Photo: André CornellierPhoto: André Cornellier

I was impressed by the dance style that was a bit provocative, but choreographed also with a lot of love for detail. The relationship between the two dancers is not comparable to anything else I have already seen: there was no forced romantic, no touches all along. They were a great team and developed romance in the respectful behavior towards each other. In the first quarter or third of the dance, Louise Lecavalier danced by herself. Then, Robert Abubo walked on her side in the square dance floor. Moves she had danced alone in the first part were later repeated together in a slightly amended version – it was wonderful to see that. One of my favorite parts was the farewell scene in the last five minutes which was still part of the dance; the dancers danced modified bows and imitated the coming backs on the stage – bowing – leaving – coming back – bowing etc. tradition – what I liked is that they did not dance it in a satirical comedian, but rather in a reflecting and unemotional way. I recommend everybody to watch a Louise Lecavalier choreography. It inspires you to break up with ordinariness.

Dance Company : Fou Glorieux Title english : BATTLEGROUND Titre français: Mille Batailles Choreographer : Louise Lcavalier Dancers: Louise Lecavalier & Rob AbuboPhoto: André Cornellier

Many thanks to the Government Representative Office of Québec and the European Center of Arts Dresden „Hellerau“ for the invitation to that wonderful evening with the artists Louise Lecavalier, Robert Abubo and Antoine Berthiaume.

(Titelfoto: Louise Lecavalier | ©André Cornellier)

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