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La La La Human Steps (Québec)
Choreographer: Édouard Lock
Presented jointly by Festival Montréal en Lumière and Danse Danse

February 13, 14, 15 & 16, 2003
Place des Arts

On the cultural scene, an Édouard Lock production is an automatic don’t miss. His new creation for nine dancers promises to be no exception. Dizzying speed, altered body states, light-sculpted physiques, and on point technique combined with inventive film technology meet in the new work which will be given its world première in August 2002 at the LG Arts Center, Seoul. The Korean institution is co-producing. Then it’s on the road, for a tour of Europe, Canada, the United States, Japan and South America.

The new production brings together stage designer Stéphane Roy, composers David Lang and Alain Thibault, lighting designer John Munro and designer Liz Vandal (female costumes).

Dark, fascinating, and elusive, Édouard Lock’s immense talent has held the spotlight on the world’s dance stages since the 1980s. Following his debut with Nouvelle Aire, the crucible from which would emerge so many of the key figures in contemporary dance, he founded Lock-Danseurs in 1980; it would soon go on to become the legendary La La La Human Steps. From its very first productions, Lily Marlène dans la jungle, Oranges and Businessman in Process of Becoming an Angel, Lock and his dancers reaped praise and prizes: the public “(…) is caught speechless, entranced, terrified, amused,” wrote the Munchner Merkur, Munich. But it was with Human Sex in 1985, a veritable earth tremor that shook contemporary dance to its foundations, that the reputation of La La La Human Steps spread, leaping oceans and borders. Human Sex, winner of a Bessie Prize, lies at the core of the things that make Édouard Lock’s reputation: speed, complexity, excess. It was closely followed by New Demons, presented as opening production at the second Festival international de nouvelle danse in Montréal, and Infante, c’est destroy, created at the Théâtre de la Ville de Paris in 1991. In 1995, the same prestigious Parisian venue hosted the world première of 2, a work about the passage of time and the finality of existence, carried entirely by the shoulders of the woman who has embodied the company for 18 years: Louise Lecavalier.

“Today, (…) he calls upon the traditional ballerina’s rigorous points, but inserts them in a force field that is violently anti-ballet. (…) At once exhausted and fascinated, spectators are caught up in an onrushing turmoil that banishes all notions of weight and mass.” La Repubblica.

The brilliance of Édouard Lock’s work lies in its extraordinary and multiform creative power, but also in the intensely personal manner he brings to the direction of his dancers, who are forced to the brink. “I don’t want my interpreters to be in absolute control of their movements. The more the public feels that the dancer is master of his movements, the less he fears to see him fall, and hence, the smaller his emotional investment. The idea is to lead my dancers into the gray zone where they can begin to communicate something strong, because the potential for failure is always there.” he told Elle Québec magazine in March 1999. That same month, he told Les Inkoruptibles magazine: “ (…) then too, the physical effort I ask of them has an effect on their movement. The relation is an extremely subtle one. In any case, dance is a form of torture, and there is no guarantee that a performance will succeed. There are times when I’ve watched the same version of a production twice in a row; the first time around, the evening was a success; the next, a total failure. The root of the problem is that one must control the choreographic material as closely as possible while maintaining a passionate relationship with the public. So we put the dancers—and their egos—at the far edge of that control, in the kind of situation where the psychological and emotional consequences do not make for stability.”

But there is certainly no lack of stability when it comes to La La La Human Steps. To date, more than 135 cities in some 20 countries at 45 festivals have rolled out the red carpet for the company. Édouard Lock has also created works for the Nederlands Dans Theater, l’Opéra de Paris and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens of Montréal. He was artistic director and associate creator of David Bowie’s 1989 tour Sound and Vision, and directed all the films seen in the production. In 1992, Édouard Lock and La La La Human Steps participated in The Yellow Shark, a concert conceived and composed by Frank Zappa for Germany’s Ensemble Modern, presented at the Francfort’s Alte Oper, the Berlin Philharmonic and the Vienna Kozerthaus.

In addition to the numerous television programs in which Lock and his company have participated in Europe, North America and Japan, Édouard Lock took part in a documentary entitled Inspirations by Michael Apted of Great Britain, examining the creative process of artists in different disciplines, such as Roy Lichtenstein and Tadao Ando. Québec filmmaker Bernar Hébert in 1987 directed Human Sex NƯ 1, winner of six international awards, Le Petit Musée de Velasquez in 1994 and Infante, broadcast on Radio-Canada in 1996.

“The cinema and the dance are closely related,” says Édouard Lock. “Like a filmmaker, a choreographer must select the angle, employ effects like zooms or big close-ups, and explore—each in their own way—a dynamic relation to the image through montage.”(Les Inkoruptibles)

Finally, the photographs of Édouard Lock, taken over the course of each of his productions, have been exhibited repeatedly in many countries.

Édouard Lock’s new creation is a coproduction of the LG Arts Center (Seoul), the Théâtre de la Ville (Paris), the Internationale Tanzwochen Wien (Vienna), the National Arts Centre (Ottawa), of Het Musiektheater (Amsterdam), of De Singel (Antwerp), of Léonard De Vinci / Opéra de Rouen and of the Festival Montréal en lumière (Montréal).


April 2002