Canadian contemporary-dance queen Louise Lecavalier makes her long-awaited Pittsburgh debut Fri., Feb. 26, at the Byham Theater in So Blue. The critically acclaimed 2012 work is the first choreographic effort by Lecavalier, best known as the face of now-defunct Montreal-based La La La Human Steps.
Lecavalier has been an icon in Canada since the 1980s; even at age 57, her dancing demonstrates incredible speed and athleticism. Her numerous awards include Canada’s highest dance honor, the Jean A. Chalmers Award, in 1999. She performed with David Bowie on his 1990 Sound+Vision tour and with Frank Zappa.
With So Blue, for her company Fou glorieux (“Crazy Glorious”), Lecavalier says she wanted the bodies of her and her partner, former Lyon Opera Ballet soloist Frédéric Tavernini, to say everything they wanted to say without thinking, but with her characteristic speed.
“A love for speed in movement is part of me,” says Lecavalier by Skype from Dusseldorf, Germany, where her company was premiering her latest work, Battleground. “My thoughts are very fast and many things inhabit me at any given moment. With speed I go into an awareness that is more interesting to me.”
The hour-long abstract work is set to original music by Turkish-born Mercan Dede (a.k.a. DJ Arkin Allen), with additional music from Daft Punk and others. So Blue is nonstop save a quick costume change and a brief moment where Lecavalier stands on her head and wiggles her legs. The work was originally a solo; Lecavalier says she added a duet because she wanted to have two people on stage to react off each other. And while she says Tavernini had some initial trepidation about her extreme choreography, she herself was “traumatized” about her first foray in to choreography.
“For 30 years I was never sure a piece was going to happen with any choreographer,” she says. “But in the end things happen. For So Blue I worked in the studio for months, and each night I doubted what I had created. Choreographing is an act of trust and you throw yourself into it. With all my insecurities I go there because it forces me to face my fears.”
As seen in YouTube clips, So Blue is indeed “crazy glorious” and a must-see this dance season.