Anita’s Eye on the Rodeo – So Blue – Louise Lecavalier
This is not a review. Very simply, these are impressions I took from So Blue, a dance concert and part of the High Performance Rodeo, Calgary’s International Festival of the Arts:
A wisp of a woman walked inconspicuously from the back of the stage. She wore black t shirt and sweat pants with a silver stripe down the sides. House lights were still on. No frills for great Canadian dance icon Louis Lecavalier to stage an intimate concert, her first choreographic foray and the cumulation of a 40-year journey.
She began moving with complex hand gestural, quick feet and fluid body. She moves as if propelled by a slow-release explosion. Her tiny frame, her other-world paleness belie the frenetic energy that bursts from her when she’s on stage.
In one strangely beautiful sequence, Lecavalier stood on her head. The spotlight shone on her torso, giving it an underwater feel, blue white like a fish’s belly. We watched as she worked her incredibly strong core to float her legs above her torso like seaweed to a soundtrack of her rhythmic breath and heart beat. This is muscle control at it’s most sophisticated. And we witnessed it. I was mesmerized. In another part of the program, Lecavalier performs a quietly funny and quirky duet with her male dance partner Frédéric Tavernini. He’s a large man and a perfect complement for her petiteness.
This is a far more subdued Louise Lecavalier, than I first saw perform 33 years ago. At that point, she been dancing for seven years. She was the muse and instrument for the astonishing Quebec choreographer Eduard Lock, the principal in his company La La La Human Steps. In an article I wrote for Last Issue, I described the company’s show as “Meticulously complex movement defined to a twitch of a finger, bodies hurling themselves the air, rebounding against one another…Instant reactions and split-second time shape a scenario or uncanny physicality amidst incongruous conversations with cutout scottie dogs, slurps of bagged milk and insistent rhythms of synth-rock.
Times have changed – but the sophisticated understanding of body and dance has continued to evolve. Lecavalier has stripped all of the extraneous showmanship to concentrate on her body and physicality – to create an intensely intimate performance.
So worthwhile to see this performer, especially if you’ve never seen her before and a must-see if you already know her work as a dancer.