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Louise Lecavalier

(1958- )
Dancer


Louise Lecavalier was born in Laval, near Montréal, the eldest and only girl in a family of four children. Her mother was a teacher and her father a carpenter. It was in secondary school at the Collège Regina Assumpta where she learned dance. She continued her studies at Collège de Bois-de-Boulogne de Montréal.

Louise trained in classical and modern dance in Montréal and New York. At 18, she joined the Nouvelle Aire troupe after a stay in the company's "professional school". She also worked briefly with Pointépiénu. While she was preparing to leave for New York to study modern dance, choreographer Édouard Lock, her colleague at Nouvelle Aire, invited her to dance for his company.

This was the start of a dazzling career with La La La Human Steps. Édouard Lock's choreography allowed her to push back the boundaries of modern dance. In an article published in L'Actualité, Yan Muckle wrote: "Between her and him, the alchemy is certain. They speak the same language. And both thirst to give everything of themselves." [translation] (Muckle, p. 90.) Louise Lecavalier became an emblematic figure in Quebec modern dance and gained international recognition.

Above all, the dancer loved to work in the studio, searching for the perfect move, looking for innovation. Endlessly repeating the same move led to higher levels of interpretation and comprehension of a piece.

Recognition and awards were not slow in coming, giving legitimacy to the innovation and passion that characterizes and emphasizes her contribution to dance.

She received the Bessie Award in New York in 1985, becoming the first Canadian female recipient. The Jean A. Chalmers National Dance Award, the greatest award for dance in Canada, followed in 1999. In February 2003, she received a career bursary from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

The London periodical Melody Maker sees in her the most brilliant and tragic dancer of our time, a dancer with legs of fire. Without diminishing in any way Édouard Lock's talent and search for innovation, one can agree with Yan Muckle's article "But when thinking back today to Human Sex, New Demons, Infante c'est destroy or yet again to 2, it is not him [Édouard Lock] that we see but Louise Lecavalier, with her white mane and legs of iron. It is she who allows Lock to give shape to his internal visions. Without the legendary passion and determination of this dancer, one could even ask whether La La La Human Steps' performances would have taken such an extreme turn." [translation] (Muckle, p. 90.)

Together, Édouard Lock and Louise Lecavalier have given La La La Human Steps its status. Without Ms Lecavalier, this company's last eighteen years would have taken another tangent. Louise Lecavalier is not, and will never be, a replaceable dancer. She left the company in 1999 after eighteen years as Édouard Lock's principal dancer and muse.

Here is a partial list of the pieces she created, many with La La La Human Steps:

La La La Human Steps, choreography by Édouard, national and international tours: Oranges, Dishes, Businesman in the Process of Becoming an Angel, Human Sex, New Demons, Infante, c'est destroy, 2 and Exaucé (Salt), 1981-1999

Sound and Vision, 10 shows with David Bowie, 1990

Non, non, non, je ne suis pas Mary Poppins, solo choreography by Louise Lecavalier, 1983

Le Sacre du printemps, choreography by Daniel Léveillé, 1982

Groupe Nouvelle Aire, national and European tours, 1978-1981

Films and videos

Inspirations, full-length, produced by Michael Apted, 1996

Strange Days, film, produced by Kathryn Bigelow, 1994

Le Petit Musée de Vélasquez, mid-length, produced by Bernar Hébert, 1993

Fame, David Bowie music video, 1990

Danse avant de tomber, Carole Laure music video, produced by Lewis Furey, 1989

Wrap Around the World, televised international show, duet with David Bowie, choreography by Édouard Lock, directed by Nam June Paik, 1988

Human Sex duo no 1, film short produced by Bernar Hébert, 1987 David Bowie's Sound and Vision tour, video CD, 1990

Louise Lecavalier works on a regular basis at the University of New York where she gives master classes and workshops in modern dance. In March 2003, she presented a piece by the Canadian choreographer, Tedd Robinson. She has also danced with Louise Bédard over the course of the last two years.

Ms Lecavalier took a break of about one year during which she gave birth to twin girls. She already has a number of plans for the future. We eagerly await her next creations.

Resources

Bazzo, Marie-France. — "Louise Lecavalier : déesse destroy". — Elle Québec. — No 26 (octobre 1991). — P. 34

Bréniel, Pascal. — "Danser le risque". — La gazette des femmes : Conseil du statut de la femme. — (Janvier-Février 1992). — P. 5

Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. — "Quatre créateurs renommés reçoivent des bourses de carrière du Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec : Louise Lecavalier." [online]. — [Cited August 5, 2003]. — Access : www.calq.gouv.qc.ca/9/communiques2003.htm#carriere

La La La Human Steps. — "Les interprètes : Louise Lecavalier" [online]. — [Cited August 5, 2003]. — Access : http://epidemic.cicv.fr/geo/art/lll/interp.html

_____. — [Louise Lecavalier] [online]. — [Cited August 5, 2003]. — Access : www.lalalahumansteps.com/htmfr/3_1_4_1.htm

Muckle, Yan. — "Danse : L'ange noir". — L'actualité. — Vol. 26, no 19 (1er décembre 2001). — P. 88-92

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