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Friday, June 27, 2008
Revel in Lock's fusion of dance
La La La Human Steps to present 'Amjad' at Saitama Arts Center
For more than 25 years, the Canadian troupe La La La Human Steps has been hailed as one of the world's leading and most radical contemporary dance companies since it was founded by Moroccan-born Edouard Lock in 1980.
At age 3 in 1957, Lock moved to Montreal, where he grew up and embarked on his career as a choreographer at age 20, working with several companies before striking out on his own and beginning to build his company's reputation for its uniquely sharp, speedy and very physical style.
In addition, Lock spread his creative wings to take in the role of artistic director for David Bowie's 1990 "Sound and Vision" world tour, and also collaborated with Frank Zappa on his 1992 "Yellow Shark" concert — as well as directing "Amelia," an award-winning 2003 film based on his original dance program of the same name.
Now about to bring his company on its fourth Japan visit, Lock will be showcasing his latest work, "Amjad" ("amazing" in Arabic and also a popular first name for both boys and girls in Morocco), which premiered in Ottawa in April 2007 and has since toured Canada, the United States, Britain, Europe and Asia.
Three upcoming performances at the Saitama Arts Center will be the last stop on the odyssey, and will present Japanese audiences with a chance to marvel at Lock's talents, which here see him drawing inspiration from Tchaikovsky's classical ballets "Swan Lake" and "Sleeping Beauty" to create his very-21st-century, fragile and edgy modern dance with his performers poured into stunning black leotards. In addition, updates of Tchaikovsky's epic scores by Gavin Bryars and David Lang, along with some heavy rock by Blake Hargreaves — will all be performed live on stage.
If you are wondering whether this is all too much hype, here's how two Canadian newspaper described "Amjad": "Like two precious metals, classical and modern dance fuse perfectly in the crucible of La La La Human Step's 'Amjad.' " (Le Soleil, Quebec); and "It's not often you get to watch a complete work of art on stage, but that's what Lock has created in his latest ballet." (Vancouver Sun).
It's your choice — but miss it at your artistic peril.
"Amjad" runs July 4, 5, 6 at the Saitama Arts Center, an eight-minute walk from JR Yonohonmachi Station on the Saikyo Line. For more details, call Saitama Arts Foundation at (048) 858-5506 or visit www.saf.or.jp