LA LA LA HUMAN STEPS and THE KOSH: one prefers David Bowie to the classics, but would sooner have silence. the other employs a 78-year-old acrobat and risks injury with every choreographic leap. Jo Roe reports from the forefront of a violent and thrilling movement in modern dance.

n Montreal a petite. muscle-bound dancer defies gravity. Reclined on a studio floor. she propels herself into the air. still horizontal and spinning like a

shock. the dancer is unmistakeably Louise Lecavalier of La La La l luman Steps. She is practising a signature movement. devised by Edouard Lock.

company. Five other dancers learn hard-driven dance patterns. throwing their bodies at each other and pacing themselves to an inner rhythm. They are rehearsing in silence. The only sound system is a small transistor radio which occasionally reports the weather.

La La La has experimented with a highly physical style for years. Forerunners to the 3 present European craze for risk-taking choreography. Edouard Lock has been i flinging his dancers around since he founded i Lock-Danseurs in 1980. Favouring dance over filmmaking. because of its polaroid spontaneity ‘l‘ve worked in films.‘ he says. ‘you have to wait three years before you can see anything' —- Lock is interested in altering perception. l-lis shows. which involve impressive film and video sequences. create a world of impossible perspective. Unlike film, the illusion happens right before our eyes. Its impact is therefore all the more strong.

Edouard Lock would have audiences watch dance with their fingers in their ears. To avoid subordinating dance to music. he believes it should be thought of in its own right. preferably in silence. He illustrated the point once by performing a previous project, Human Sex. to the classical score of Spartacus when. thanks to bizarre programming. the company was performing back to back with the Bolshoi Ballet which had used the music in its show. ‘People came up to us after the performance and said they were glad that we had mellowed out the choreography,‘ says Lock disparagingly. ‘I hadn’t done a thing except change from

8The List 9— 15 August 1991

wooden top. Bleached hair in permanent

founder and choreographer of the Canadian '


electric guitar and drums to a soft score.‘

In Lock's eyes. dance should be built on visual rhythm. unaffected by the emotional content of music. ‘lt‘s nothing new.‘ he says. ‘Merce (‘unningham established the lack of relationship between music and dance years ago.‘ As a result. the company's latest project. in common with previous ventures. was rehearsed for nearly a year before it w as set to music only two weeks ahead ofthe opening night.

It is strange then that the company is renowned for dancing to raucous and imposing recorded and live music. ‘When I started using music. which was quite late on .‘ says Lock. ‘I decided to go with a harsh

sound rather than a soft one. It seemed crazy

to use a soft. unobtrusive score which was there simply for convention .‘ Instead he gives composers curic b/(mc'lrc to set up an alternative show. Hence the commissioning oforiginal music for the latest project lnfunie from German experimental rock band liinsturzende Neubauten. famous for upsetting London‘s l(‘A by drilling through the stage as part of a live performance. Like the choreography the music stands on its own: violent. forceful and thrilling.

Lock‘s growing reputation has prompted a list ofenviable commissions. lle choreographed a silent piece for David Bowie which was performed at the [CA (cleverly avoiding the aforementioned hole). which was followed by an invitation to act as artistic director for the 19‘)” Sound and Vision tour. Bowie was willing though nervous. ‘But I hadn't expected people to scream when he walked on to the lCA‘s stage.‘ Lock admits.

Like rock stars. La La La spends two-thirds ofits life touring. lnevitably some performances are better than others. Search the dancers‘ expressions at the end of the show. suggests Lock. ‘That should indicate if it has been a good one.‘

Infinite (Festival) Playhouse Theatre, 225 5756. I4—17Aug. 7. 30pm, {4—H}.