As Robinson approached his 50th birthday, he conceived a plan to
choreograph a program of three duets, each featuring him and one of
his favorite dancers. Lecavalier was on his dream list along with another
celebrated Canadian, Margie Gillis, and Japan’s critically acclaimed
Mako Kawano. He judiciously adopted a low-pressure approach, and
Lecavalier responded by suggesting they hang out in the studio and try
a few things before committing to the piece.
“It was a pleasure working in the studio again with no pressure,”
Lecavalier recalls. The result was Lula and the Sailor, first performed
by Lecavalier and Robinson in 2003, but at a cost: The pain in her damaged right hip became unbearable. “I got through on adrenaline,” she
With her appetite for dance restored, she moved ahead with surgery
to resurface the joint. “It gave me a second life,” says Lecavalier.
And what a second life!
Lecavalier launched into a series of collaborations, working with
choreographers, like Benoît Lachambre and Crystal Pite, who shared
her personal belief in the centrality of the body and the hidden impulses
that animate it. She founded her Fou Glorieux in 2006 to provide an
institutional framework for her projects, commissioning choreographers and, as required, other dancers. Yet her name, rather than the
company’s, remains the marquee audience magnet.
“Many people worldwide still associate Louise with La La La, but
she has reinvented herself as a unique artist,” says Cathy Levy, the
National Arts Centre’s dance producer. “We can see where she comes
from, and how the extremes she found in her movement helped define
Édouard’s style, but we can also see where she is going as she reaches
new heights with her movement style of today.”
Lecavalier’s vocabulary still includes her famous bursts of frenetic
energy, but her various post–La La La collaborations have allowed her
to discover the pleasure and power of moving slowly. She jokes that it’s
the stuff in between that doesn’t appeal to her.
This more measured approach could be seen as an inevitable
capitulation to age, but Lecavalier insists its basis is always artistic, a
reflection of her own continuing exploration of movement possibili-
ties. “You can’t think about pacing yourself when you’re creating
something,” she says. “Ideas bring ideas and the body is changing all
the time. I push myself because it’s the way I live. I’m still passionate,
As she reflects on her ever-evolving career, Lecavalier offers a
personal credo: “Dance helps me become myself. I want the body
to say everything it wants to say without censoring it, hoping that it
might point to new paths, new ways of getting to the essential core of
Michael Crabb is a senior advising editor for Dance Magazine.
BY MICHAEL CRABB
Lecavalier with Robert
Abubo in her latest