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La La La Human Steps

(Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

La La La Human Steps, Amjad, 2007
Édouard Lock, the choreographer and founder of La La La Human Steps, began his dancing career at the age of 19. From 1975 to 1979, he choreographed several pieces for dance companies around Montreal, such as the Groupe de la Place Royale, the Groupe Nouvelle Aire and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. In 1980, he founded his own dance company, the Lock Danseurs, which later became La La La Human Steps. That same year, he choreographed Lily Marlène dans la jungle (1980), a work presented at The Kitchen, a space in New York renowned then for hosting contemporary dance. In the early eighties, Lock choreographed two more pieces, Oranges (1981) and Businessman in the Process of Becoming an Angel (1983). The latter won dancer Louise Lecavalier, Lock's long-time collaborator, a Bessie Award in New York. The company's reputation grew rapidly with Lock also winning a Bessie Award in 1986 for Human Sex, a work created in 1985. New Demons (1987) opened the second Festival de nouvelle danse de Montréal and propelled the company into a world tour that lasted two years.

"Although the dance scene is now strewn with 'extreme dance' companies, featuring more pumped-up performers in biker shorts and knee pads than you find in the Tour de France, it was an unusual aesthetic in the early eighties, when Lock first started launching his dancers like missiles across the stage. "Back then, people were frankly aggressive and angry about the work," he recalls. "We hadn't even cranked up to full speed, but people called it violent. Which I never really understood, because it wasn't violent, it was fast. But at that time there wasn't much realization that the body could take an extreme stance." (1)

The style proposed by Lock and his dancers was certainly at the forefront of new developments in contemporary dance. The frenetic movements and unabashed use and testing of the body were new. La La La Human Steps pushed many conventional limits on the international stage. The experimental nature of Lock's work drew artists to him, such as Nam June Paik, with whom he collaborated on Wrap Around the World (1988). In 1990, Lock became the artistic director of David Bowie's show Sound and Vision, while two dancers from La La La Human Steps accompanied Bowie on tour. In the fall of 1992, La La La participated in the presentation of The Yellow Shark, composed by Frank Zappa for the Ensemble Modern of Germany. (2)

In 1988, Lock was commissioned to create Bread Dances for the National Ballet of Holland. In April 1991, Infante c'est destroy premiered at the Théâtre de la Ville à Paris. By 1995, La La La had established a solid reputation in the contemporary dance community with Human Sex and carried on this success with 2, a creation performed in 14 countries around the world during a two-year tour. 2 presented dancer and collaborator Louise Lecavalier in two roles, playing with life and death, age, and other corporeal polarities.

Angela Plohman © 2000 FDL

(1) Jennifer Fisher, "Keeping Them Off-Balance", Los Angeles Times (January 30, 2000) : 7 & 64.

(2) See Eduardo Kac, "Satellite Art: An Interview with Nam June Paik," (accessed October 2000):