For more than two decades, renowned Canadian choreographer Édouard Lock has created ballets that, in the words of La Repubblica, "call upon the traditional ballerina's rigorous points, but insert them in a force field that is violently anti-ballet." He has understandably shaken up the dance world with his predilection for discord, expanding ballet from an exercise in form and fluidity to one of chaos and unpredictability. Amelia may be the pinnacle of Lock's style, a work that is as aesthetically stark as it is physically audacious. Yet the greatest achievement of Lock's film adaptation is that, perhaps without precedent, he has created a ballet that seems fully realized on the screen rather than on the stage. Lock's already cinematic tone (complemented by David Lang's music and Lou Reed's lyrics) carries over and is brought into brilliant focus by Lock's own editing and by cinematographer André Turpin, whose quick cuts, shocking contrasts, and 360 degrees of perspective set the La La La Human Steps dancers in a space much larger than the wooden room in which they dance. Every spin is a flash of light, every arbitrary switch of dancers a gasp, and every close-up a study in shape and musculature. The constant juxtapositions do not conjure comparisons to classical ballet as much as to the electro-organic aesthetic that has carved out a niche in music, movies, and more of popular culture. This is dance for the digital age: precise, frenetic, and breathtaking in its quest for perfection.
Édouard Lock's career as a choreographer has spanned 30 years in which he has created works for some of the globe's leading dance companies and garnered international acclaim for originality, vision, and structure. In 2002, he was awarded the Prix Denise Pelletier, Québec's highest cultural award, and in 2003 received the Benois de la Danse for André Auria, which he choreographed for the Paris Opera Ballet. His film adaptation of Amelia premiered at the 2003 Montréal International Festival of New Cinema and New Media. Since its formation 23 years ago, La La La Human Steps has produced experimental works that combine balletic structures with choreographic, musical, and cinematic elements to create a sense of perceptual distortion and renewal. Its varied collaborators have included the Paris Opera and Frank Zappa.