Thursday, March 22 , 2018, 2:58 am | Overcast 60º


Liam Burke: La La La Human Steps Troupe to Grace the Granada Stage

UCSB Arts & Lectures will present the avant-garde dance company on Saturday

UCSB Arts & Lectures will present the original avant-garde of contemporary dance, La La La Human Steps, on Saturday at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara.

Talia Evtushenko and William Lee dance with the La La La Human Steps company.
Talia Evtushenko and William Lee dance with the La La La Human Steps company. (Édouard Lock photo)

La La La Human Steps dance company may sound like a whimsically named new troupe, but rest assured, this company founded 32 years ago by a young choreographer named Édouard Lock has been at the forefront of the international dance scene for decades. A Montreal-based company, its dancers are known for their uber-athleticism and totally avant garde dance language.

Their first sensation, which garnered international acclaim, was Lock’s fourth work for his company, provocatively titled “Human Sex.” That was in 1985, and it inspired a whole new generation of dancers and choreographers all over the world.

“Human Sex” starred a young and brilliant dancer, Louise Lecavalier (Lock’s muse for two decades), and her physically and sexually unrelenting performance quickly established the company as artists of a greater kind.

Back then, Lock’s work had an incredibly rough edge to it. Watching Lecavalier fly through the air in double horizontal barrel turns and landing almost painfully on top of her male partner (on the floor) made audiences audibly gasp. The bar was raised in contemporary dance. Like Rudolf Nureyev and then Mikhail Baryshnikov raised the bar for men in classical ballet, Lecavalier raised modern for women.

A Santa Barbara premiere, the new work is simply titled “New Work” and looks to be a more refined choreographic work, transforming the movement of romantic classical ballets into Lock’s own dance movement but maintaining his instantly recognizable style. The result is dancers as gracious and agile as ballerinas, wiry as athletes and dehumanized like an automaton. The piece is also accompanied by a live quartet performing the music of Gluck and Henry Purcell, arranged by English composer and double bassist Gavin Bryars and brilliantly rendered by piano, saxophone, violin and cello.

Last year the incomparable Lock was awarded three distinct honors in Canada,including the Molson Prize for outstanding lifetime achievements to cultural and intellectual life in Canada. In between all of this, Lock choreographed a David Bowie tour (also starring Lecavalier) and created a dance film called Amelia that can be seen on YouTube.

Whether you’re an artist, filmmaker, dancer, choreographer, actor or musician, you will be inspired by this company and the choreography. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see the world’s leader in the avant garde dance and, if you dare, catch a glimpse of the spectacularly saucy, theatrical and scantily clad “Human Sex” on YouTube, but be warned: You will have to sign in to see this video because it is classified as “adult content”!

Noozhawk contributing writer Liam Burke covers dance and has been published in Dance Magazine, Dance Australia and The James White Review. He can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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