Last week Louise Lecavalier was named one of the 2014 winners of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement. As well, she and her dance company, Fou Glorieux, received the 29th Grand Prix from the Conseil des Arts de Montréal.
Louise Lecavalier in my sketchbook, from a reference photo by Annik MH De Corufel of Le Devoir
I’ve always loved dance, wanted to study dance, but my body is the opposite of dance. I am fascinated by dancers; for a long time obsessed with George Balanchine and the American Ballet, but then moving into a love of contemporary dance and the collaborative work of artists from music, fine art, architecture, and dance – such as Merce Cunningham’s work with John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg. Closer to home, in Regina, Sk (way back when) I discovered this new world through the dance company New Dance Horizons and its Artistic Director, Robin Poitras.
And I learned of the company, La La La Human Steps with Édouard Lock , and the dancer, Louise Lecavalier. She has collaborated with artists such as David Bowie, Nam June Paik, and Frank Zappa. In 2006 she founded her own dance company, Fou Glorieux, and created her first choreography, So Blue. Last week I watched videos from performances of So Blue, music by Mercan Dede. My bodily reaction was electric, is all I can say. I freeze in glorious madness.
You won’t detect motion in me when I watch dance, but inside there is great turmoil. I am thinking today about Newton’s 1st law of motion – Every body persists in its state of being at rest or of moving uniformly straight forward except insofar as it is compelled to change its state by force impressed (quoted from Wikipedia). My soul is impressed by dance, if not my body. I am the person who needs to be reminded to swing my arms a little when I walk (Seinfeld reference). My body is highly censored.
I taught myself to draw by drawing dancers (old sketchbook above). The body as an instrument of expression, an ally in a world of compression, was/is a mystery to me. Have you heard “Body’s in Trouble” by Mary Margaret O’Hara? In the spring of 1989 I listened to her album, Miss America, over and over, and by the summer I was in a hospital for three months. It wasn’t clear if body (chicken) or mind (egg) was the problem.
Blue is the colour of the soul, of the spirit, and alternates between different wonderfully unbearable states – Louise Lecavalier
If you would like to be in an unbearable state, as you sit motionless at your computer, I suggest YouTubing videos of So Blue, Body’s In Trouble, and yet another love, performances from the multi-arts, Danse Lhasa Danse. Singers, musicians, film and dancers all on stage together, celebrating Lhasa de Sela.
Lhasa died from breast cancer at the age of 37. She had released three beautiful albums. My first year in Toronto was impressed by her first album La Llorona. She was enchanting.
We are all waiting for permission to be who we are, for someone to tell us we can be real. Go through that and there’s an open road with nothing to stop you – Lhasa.
I search for dance that gives form to the hurly-burly of an atomic blue soul – Louise Lecavalier
Summary? Resist your state of rest, your uniformly straight forwardness, and compel your maddening self to be impressed by the glories of music & motion.