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Louise Lecavalier, Queen Elizabeth Hall, review


Louise Lecavalier has always been an extreme performer. Dancing with Édouard Lock’s La La La Human Steps in the 1980s and 90s, collaborating with Frank Zappa or David Bowie, she would hurl herself through gravity-defying moves with blonde dreadlocks flying.

In So Blue, the first work the Canadian Lecavalier has choreographed for herself, she’s still pushing herself. The dreadlocks have gone – in fact, she looks a little like Bowie on stage, with sharp cheekbones and androgynous asymmetric fringe. She’s a restless, tireless figure, loping through speedy steps.

In this hour-long work, even the pauses are tough. Lecavalier flips into a headstand to catch her breath, staying coolly upside down until she’s ready to set off again. When she leans into some robotic moves, there’s a sense of power seething behind each small tilt and angle.

A driven performer, Lecavalier is an undisciplined choreographer. Mercan Dede’s electronic soundtrack doesn’t provide much shape, and the pacing sags. When Lecavalier is joined by the tall, biblically bearded Frédéric Tavernini, his solo material is unfocused. Their partnered sequences are stronger: Lecavalier dangles from his shoulders or perches on his back, like a bird at the very tip of a branch.

Run ended.