"Dancing was never about telling stories for me. It was about finding and touching our essence as beings. This is a long journey."
Artist Louise Lecavalier has been described as a rebel on stage. She has created her own category of contemporary dance. Her frenetic, athletic and technical moves are daring and riveting. She is deliberate in the selection of music for her productions for their escalation in musical intensity.
Since founding her own company, ‘Fou Glorieux’, in 2006, her movement research has been symbolic of her entire career, emphasizing the surpassing of limits and risk-taking, a search for the absolute in which she seeks to bring out the “more-than-human in the human.
Lecavalier will perform her solo show ‘Stations’ November 23-25 on the Harbourfront Centre stage. Harbourfront calls the production her most personal work to date.
‘Solos’ marks the first time the Order of Canada recipient has performed a solo show of her own choreography.
She is one busy lady right now and I was thankful she had the chance to answer some questions via email before the production opens.
OTV: You have had quite an illustrious career as an artist. What is it about the art of dance that still connects you to tell stories to an audience?
Dance caught me in the flight. When I discovered dance, on top the pleasure of improvising freely and learning steps from others, I saw a beauty in it that came from those incredible possibilities to expand the body in unexpectable ways. i I thought also that dance was capapabe to express something that went beyond what was measurable in sports, or the simple valoriation of specific aspects of one’s morphology.
Strangely or not strangely with time, I think I am even closer if possible to my most inner impulse to dance. I might have been at the beginning too caught up by my admiration for the technical aspect of it and the dancers I saw dancing. They were to me like the most beautiful animals. And I wanted to be in their world
Over time, dance has become wider and more personal. My appreciation of the human boday for its natural sense of dance has expanded. While still dancing I do not think of myself so much as a dancer now but as a someone who dances. I see dance everywhere and I want to dance atom like.
Dancing was never about telling stories for me, it was about finding and touching our essence as beings. That is a long journey.
OTV: In your professional opinion, does one need to have a specific educational background or training to appreciate the art form of dance?
LL: I hope that is not necessary. You like a dance or you don’t. Same with music. Same with painting…it touches you or it doesn’t. In the end, happy or not with a live show that you saw, some trace is left. It can be questions, it can be awe, it can be that your recognize your whole life there, or your hopes, your ideas, or you simply had a good time and forgot your personal worries.
Education in art starts by seeing a first thing…then a second one..And art informs about the other art forms, and informs us of something without our knowledge.
OTV: The title ‘Stations’ intrigues me. What is it specifically about your upcoming Harbourfront performance that you want audiences to remember about the meaning of Stations and stations in life?
LL: I never think about what I want people to remember from my shows. Hum…Maybe I should ask myself this question. Or maybe not. I bring a dance on stage with no big hopes about others, but I do everything I can prior to coming on stage to arrive with the best possible version of the dance. Most clarity or most precision or most liberty or wildness. Lots of practice and re-thinking the piece over and over, this I can do, but expect something or impose an idea to the audience I cannot. I take the chance that dance talks a real language by itself and that it doesn’t need any explanations.
Being on stage with a work that is an opportunity to share some humanity. ‘Stations’ is a solo, and I have to my own surprise…already 45 years of dance behind me, so the piece speaks of a journey, a dance journey. It holds many stories but the sum of the stories for now is this dance named ‘Stations’.
Until the next work.
OTV: Who has mentored you along the way in your career?
LL: No one has officially mentored me. The person I have been the closest to and with whom I developed and expanded myself the most is Edouard Lock. All the 18 years that we worked together I had tremendous admiration for him as a choreographer, and as a thinker, not only for dance but in general. When you work so close to someone maybe you cannot see thisp person as a mentor. We were friends, colleagues and lovers. We shared. I feel like I learned so much from him.
I gave to our research everything I had. I was in a perfect mode of discovery and I didn’t hold back anything. All was given for free, all was taken freely and there was no game of power or superiority. There was already lots of laughs and sweat.
Having a mentor seems too serious when you are already deeply serious inside.
Others who have influenced me through rich connections are Tedd Robinson and Benoit Lachambre.
OTV: What words of professional advice would you give to young dance artists just beginning their careers and to their training grounds of dance?
LL: Advice I give only one to one, and even then I am never very sure of its importance. I asked no advice from teachers or performers in the dance world. I took my advice or inspiration in my readings and discussing with people from dance and from other disciplines, day to day life, observation and mostly in dancing out of my skin.
I took dance classes, and it sent me in one particular direction. I stopped taking dance classes and it sent in other directions. I moved on and on, but I always kept dancing. Injured or when pregnant, I dance in my head if I couldn’t dance so much with my feet
So what kind of advice to give?
Each dancer has to find his or her own liberty.
‘Stations’ runs November 23-25 in the Simon Fleck Dance Theatre at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre, 207 Queens Quay West. For tickets, visit harbourfrontcentre.com.