Louise Lecavalier and Benoît Lachambre

July 4, 2009

Louise Lecavalier and
Benoît Lachambre

Marseille Festival
Pavillon noir

Aix-en-Provence , France

July 4–5, 2009

Reviewed by Victoria Looseleaf

Photo by Andre Cornelier, Courtesy Marseille Festival.

Nobody moves like Louise Lecavalier, erstwhile star of Edouard Locke’s Montréal-based troupe, La La La Human Steps. And while her expressive face and astonishing technique were the ideal vessel for Locke’s quicksilver choreographic vocabulary, these days, Lecavalier, at 50 and on her own since 1999, is still able to find meaning in a pair of rubbery legs, knocked knees, and full-body wriggling.


In this outing, Is You Me, Lecavalier was abetted by Québécois choreographer/dancer Benoît Lachambre (whose company, Par B.L.eux produced the work, its second collaboration with Lecavalier), musician Hahn Rowe, and video artist Laurent Goldring. Where so many videos detract or are superfluous to the dance, Goldring’s onstage machinations are integral to the 2008 work.

An action painting played out in 50 minutes, the opus was set on a raked, all-white stage, one that became, under Goldring’s deft computer scribblings, an elaborate series of Rorschach-type drawings. Sketching lines around and across the dancers’ bodies—and intermittently adding splashes of color that also rendered hearts, flocks of birds, and, well, a mind turned inside out—Goldring created indelible imagery.


Adding Rowe’s gorgeous score—performed live on computer with some prerecorded sounds—the piece zipped around from elegiac cello and processed vocals to full-throttle heavy metal.


Then there is Lecavalier: Dressed in workout pants and a hoodie, she occasionally lay on the stage, her head cocked, a leg angled upwards. Even in static posturing or executing molasses-slow butoh-esque gestures, she drew the viewer into this alien yet comforting world. Whether adroitly slithering or standing erect, arms akimbo and appearing punch drunk before veering into a rash of popping and locking moves, Lecavalier commands attention.


Happily, Lachambre proved a fine partner. With his long, lanky body he, too, offered engaging, insect-like moves. As a pair, they constantly surprised. Indeed, this kinetic tableau was more than the sum of its parts. Several blindingly white moments conjured bits of both Ashton’s Monotones and a North Pole scene in Tony Kushner’s prize-winning play, Angels in America. Come to think of it, Lecavalier, with her otherworldly demeanor and beatific connection to an audience, is a kind of angel of dance herself.