Louise Lecavalier pulsates at Theatre Junction GRAND

Tonight, Louise Lecavalier's electricity pulsated up into the highest reaches of the steeply graded seating at Theatre Junction Grand. Performing for a packed house, she and her two male dancers, Patrick Lamothe and Keir Knight clearly astounded the captive audience with their wildly energetic, dynamic and emotionally nuanced performance. Lecavalier's intense physicality, speed and percussive movement quality are as potent and refined as ever, yet she approaches performance with a grace, generosity and wisdom that reveals her remarkably long career as one of Canada's most distinct and celebrated contemporary dance artists.

In Children, by Nigel Charnock, a whole set of assumptions as to content and style are stimulated in the mind by the title alone. However, prepare for a densely layered and intellectual exploration of childhood that is at times joyful and curious and at other times fraught with a sense of danger, urgency and emerging sexuality. Lecavalier begins the piece alone on stage and seems to communicate the solo journey that childhood often is, where our closest friends and allies are imagined and our perspective is subjectively our own. In a wonderfully rich movement vocabulary, she alternates between quick, clambering, investigative movement and moments of complete stillness in which she connects powerfully with the audience through a steady childlike gaze. This motif is repeated as she is joined by Patrick Lamothe for a wildly physical duet that explores all the passion, inhibition and primal aggression of childhood. Slowly, there is an evident transformation into greater self-awareness and the tentative intimacy that we crave when we pass through the portals of puberty and begin to mature.

Even if this is your first time seeing Louise Lecavalier perform live, it is highly probable that you have seen footage of her legendary work with La La La Human Steps, or at least have heard of her highly original, explosive movement aesthetic and the extraordinary influence she has had on Canadian contemporary dance for almost thirty years. In A Few Minutes of Lock, she revisits the work of Édouard Lock, the Montreal based choreographer of La La La Human Steps who she inspired and danced for over the span of eighteen years. In this piece, we are able to revel in the strength, style and energy of attack that she is known for. All I could feel was overwhelming gratitude for this spectacular Fluid Fest performance, in an important and truly exhilarating moment for Calgary dancers and audience members alike.

Lauren Côté