La La La Human Steps returns to Southern California
Now celebrating 30-plus years of high stature in the concert dance world, Montreal-based La La La Human Steps remains faithful to its trademark aesthetic -- an unfathomably fast, neo-communicative physical gesturing -- which ignited fascinating onstage collaborations in the '80s (Frank Zappa, David Bowie) and leagues of young imitators after that.
Speaking from Vancouver, Canada, this week, La La La’s founding choreographer/director, Édouard Lock, struggled with bad cellphone reception at first, announcing at one point, “OK -- I won’t move from this place.” He immediately caught the irony of his pledge, “especially for someone who is known to move so quickly.”
Appearing in SoCal for the first time since 2008, Lock will be bringing his “New Work” to the Irvine Barclay Theatre on Thursday, featuring a new score from frequent collaborators Gavin Bryars and Blake Hargreaves played live by an onstage quartet (piano, viola, cello and saxophone). The 95-minute piece takes musical and emotional cues from Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas” and Gluck’s “Orpheus and Eurydice,” including “the sort of fantastical relationship to love that both [plot lines] have,” Lock says. Why did he choose to leave the work untitled? “Because the two stories are so powerful that when I look at the piece,” he explains, “I don’t particularly find a desire to create a third title to overlap the other two.”
Aside from composers Bryars and Hargreaves (who work independently from Lock, revealing their score to him just days before touring begins), Lock collaborated here with acclaimed Mariinsky principal ballerina Diana Vishneva, who’d sought Long out to choreograph something for her. How did Vishneva's Russian heritage influence Lock's choreography? On this North American leg of the tour, which Vishneva couldn't attend, we'll see her part split between two company dancers.
Photo: La La La Human Steps. Credit: Édouard Lock