Louise Lecavalier

In 1977 Lecavalier started dancing professionally with such companies as LE GROUPE NOUVELLE AIRE and Pointépiénu and for independent choreographers in Montréal and New York. As a choreographer, she presented her first work, the solo No, No, No, I Am Not Mary Poppins, in 1982.

Louise Lecavalier

 Louise Lecavalier, dancer (born at Montréal 3 Oct 1958). Louise Lecavalier studied dance in Montréal and New York - classical ballet with Marie-Josée Hardy, Rénald Rabu, Ernie Pagnano and Jocelyn Lorenz, among others, and modern dance with Martine Époque and William Gornel, to name only two. She also took classes in jazz as well as training in yoga, tai chi, boxing and Perf-max. With Édouard LOCK's La La La Human Steps, she became internationally recognized and acclaimed as a brilliant, unequalled dancer, dazzling audiences worldwide.

In 1977 Lecavalier started dancing professionally with such companies as LE GROUPE NOUVELLE AIRE and Pointépiénu and for independent choreographers in Montréal and New York. As a choreographer, she presented her first work, the solo No, No, No, I Am Not Mary Poppins, in 1982.

Louise Lecavalier joined La La La Human Steps in 1981 for its production of Oranges and went on to perform in each of the company's subsequent productions - Human Sex (1985), New Demons (1987), Infante (1991), 2 (1995) and finally Salt/Exaucé (1998). In 1985 she became the first Canadian to win a Bessie Award in New York for her performance in Businessman in the Process of Becoming an Angel (1983).

Throughout her career with the company, with her muscular, pumped-up body and her fearless, intense physicality on stage, she was able to challenge gender lines and conventions. Apart from her breathtaking physical daring, her performances were also noted for their passion and generosity. For nearly two decades, she was, in many ways, La La La Human Steps' definitive symbol and luminary.

Louise Lecavalier also participated in each of the company's major collaborations. In 1987 she was invited to dance with Marc BÉLAND at Rendez-Vous 87 in Québec City, alongside two dancers from the Bolshoi Ballet. In 1988 she performed with David Bowie in a benefit concert for London's Institute of Contemporary Arts. Choreographed by Édouard Lock, this piece was also part of Wrap Around the World, a show conceived by artist Nam June Paik and simulcast in several countries. In 1990, along with Donald Weikert, she was a guest artist on Bowie's Sound and Vision tour. In 1989 she starred in Carole LAURE's music video Save the Last Dance for Me, and in 1992 she performed in The Yellow Shark, a concert by Frank Zappa and Germany's Ensemble Modern in Frankfurt, Berlin and Vienna.

Dancing before thousands in stadiums around the world, and appearing in Bowie's music video Fame 90, Lecavalier's recognition factor rose. A mass-appeal role in Kathryn Bigelow's film Strange Days in 1994, and prominent ad campaigns for Absolut Vodka and LA Eyeworks, followed. That same year she was cast in Élizabeth Chénier, one of the segments from the NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA series Pour tout dire (Martin Baril, director). She and Édouard Lock appeared in director Michael Apted's documentary Inspirations (1996), an exploration of the creative processes of artists from various disciplines, including painter Roy Lichtenstein, singer David Bowie, and architect Tadao Ando. In 1997 she took part in the improvisational project Crash Landing-Second Chance at the Internationale Tanzwochen in Vienna, along with choreographers Steve Paxton and Meg Stuart, musicians David Linton and Harry de Wit and Wooster Group actress Kate Valk, among others.

After 18 years Louise Lecavalier ended her career-defining run with La La La Human Steps, retiring in 1999. She continued professionally teaching in-demand workshops and master classes, gave birth to twins, and then opened a new page on her dancing life in 2003, returning to the stage in Reclusive Conclusions and Other Duets by Tedd Robinson. Work with Robinson continued when he created Cobalt rouge (2005) for Lecavalier and three male dancers. In 2006 she performed a program of solos by Robinson, Benoît Lachambre and Crystal PITE. The duet Is You Me, a collaboration between Lecavalier and Lachambre, produced by the company Par b.l.eux, debuted in spring 2008. Lecavalier has danced an acclaimed program of duets, comprising Children (2009) by bold British choreographer Nigel Charnock of DV8 Physical Theatre fame, followed by A Few Minutes of Lock (2009), incorporating sections she reconstructed (with Édouard Lock) from La La La Human Steps material from 2 and Exaucé/Salt, layered with an Iggy Pop score.

To create personal dance works tailored specifically for her, Lecavalier founded the Montréal-based production company Fou Glorieux in 2006.

In 1999 Lecavalier received the Jean A. CHALMERS National Award, Canada's most distinguished dance prize. It was the first time this award was given to a dancer. Louise Lecavalier was awarded the ORDER OF CANADA in 2010.

Louise Lecavalier continues to be a gracious and enduring artist, offering audiences deft performances full of rigor and discipline, without a trace of bravado. In 2011 she was named "Dance Personality of the Year 2010-2011" by the Syndicat professionnel français de la critique (French Critics' Union) in Paris. Later that year she became the first winner of the Prix de la danse de Montréal..

Help students and educators this school year!

The Canadian Encyclopedia is a project of Historica Canada, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization devoted to teaching Canadians more about our shared country. Last school year, over 13 million people used The Canadian Encyclopedia as a trusted resource. Nearly 5 million of those users were students and teachers. Please donate today to help even more Canadians access free, impartial, fact-checked, regularly updated information about Canada’s history and culture in both official languages. All donations above $3 will receive a tax receipt.