IM GESPRÄCH MIT LOUISE LECAVALIER
Die kanadische Choreografin und Tänzerin Louise Lecavalier, die als Star der kanadischen Compagnie LaLaLa Human Steps berühmt wurde, und mittlerweile erfolgreich als Solotänzerin in der ganzen Welt auftritt, präsentierte im Rahmen der 20. Ausgabe von TANZ Bremen ihre Produktion BATTLEGROUND.
Für dieses Stück ließ sie sich von Italo Calvinos Novelle "Der Ritter, den es nicht gab" inspirieren. Für TANZ Bremen nahm sich die Ikone des zeitgenössischen Tanz Zeit, um Fragen zum Stück und ihre Rolle als Tänzerin und Choreografin zu beantworten.
Your piece Battleground is very much connected to combat and to fighting. Do you have any input or experience from martial arts?
I do not have input from martial arts, but I did some boxing years ago and I used this a little in my training exercises for a while. As I got injured at some point, I couldn’t do a dance class anymore, so I made a physical class myself, which included a little bit of boxing. When I discovered it I loved it so much that, when I teach I use some elements of boxing and everybody loves it.
I did it intensively, when I was in Los Angeles. I was training for a Kathryn Bigelow movie, called Strange Days in 1994, where I had to play the ‘bad girl’. I met a boxer and did two months of training, after which I got good enough to include some of the movements into my role.
The battles that you are fighting in battleground seem to be never-ending.
What exactly is it that you are fighting for?
It is an allegory for life, our struggles, our battles. – which we think are so important, and maybe they are not so important in the end. It’s the personal battle to continue living that is really hard. Sometimes, without knowing it, we invent some difficulties and we have to fight through this. But sometimes the real fights are somewhere else, which we don’t clearly see. It’s like the bull that aims for the red drape, but the real enemy is actually the torero.
Do you think that the real fight is actually more an inner one?
Yes, in the sense that I wanted a character that was outside of me, but actually it’s very much like me: A knight that really fights for ridiculous things. There is no enemy; he’s all alone in the beginning. And then someone else arrives, but they don’t see each other. When they are finally together, they are not fighting against each other. In my head this character that I play is more enthusiastic about the fight, and the other one is more a kind of follower. I wanted two very different characters, but sometimes they become alike. I think those are situations that we also have in life.
Do you think that dance in general, and your productions in particular, should have political involvement or some kind of political aim, especially considering everything that is going on in the USA and the EU?
As a person I am aware of politics. I am political, whether I want to, or not. We are all political. But I don’t want to talk about it too much, because we hear about this all the time, and I think it’s good to use other forms of talking: music or dance. So I don’t think I address this, in particular. But I think it’s there, in the way I choose to dance. All my life choices are in my dance.
Before you started with La La La Human Steps, your dance and also your personal aesthetic was almost androgynous. In terms of questions of gender, how do those influence your dance and also you personally?
When I danced with Édouard Lock, with LaLaLa Human Steps, it’s true that suddenly everybody thought that I was androgynous. But, before I joined the company, because I had long, blonde hair, people perceived me as very feminine. There was a way that people reacted to me, that was very strange. It took me a while to realise that this long, blonde hair guided people to see me in a way that was not really for me. As soon as I cut my hair short, there was no longer a gap in people’s perception of me and how I felt.
So, I feel very gender-feminine and I do think I’m a feminine person, but not in the stereotype of femininity, just more in the archetype. There are many ways to be feminine. In dance in particular, but also in many other places, there is a tendency to stereotype. A while back, there were even more stereotypes about how a woman or a female dancer had to be. But maybe this is changing now.
Do you see yourself more as a choreographer or a dancer? Has this changed at all since you started your own company?
When I’m creating the piece, I see myself as both. But once I’m performing it, I’m a dancer. I‘m not a choreographer on stage. And, I’m as receptive as ever to comments and suggestions. I was always very receptive to that when I was dancing for Édouard Lock for example and it’s still the same. I can put my trust in other people. I’m not a big boss, ever, in fact. I can choreograph movement, and I can stage a piece, and I like to do that. But I think if I had to say I am one more than the other, I would say a dancer.
We conducted little interviews with the audience after the show. Some of them seemed to be exhausted, just by watching you on stage. Is that something that is important to you, to create a physical environment like that?
When I create a show, I don’t think it has to be that way. But for the last pieces, it ended up like this. The pieces are exhausting. When I create the choreographies, I don’t think about how exhausting the movements will be. I just love to do the work in the studio and finally, when I put them all together, it is exhausting.
To make it less so, it would have to be a two hour show with other scenes.
I like to present something that is just the essential: just the raw, natural energy that I found in the studio when I create this work. I don’t want to knit many other little scenes around it. Maybe someday I develop a taste for it, but that’s not what I would like to do right now. Even so, I don’t want to exhaust the audience, but I want them to be captivated.
Do you dance differently in a solo, than with a partner?
Not so much. It’s a continuity, a little bit different, but similar. Because I always think even if we’re two people, we’re alone anyway. I never think that I’m a different person when I’m with a partner. I’m still the same person. There’s this impression that we lose ourselves with another person, but in reality, I think we continue to be alone.
What attitude do you have towards your own body and to what extent does that influence your dance?
When I go into the studio, I don’t think of my body. I am just doing the movements. I think it’s something that is natural to me: a desire and love for movement.
Interview: Chantal Waltersdorf, Michael Ludwig Tsouloukidse