All philosophy and all science are born of our daily bread.”

-- Marguerite Yourcenar

Edouard Lock and La La La Human Steps

2001 National Arts Centre Award

A leading figure in the world of contemporary dance, Edouard Lock has influenced, challenged, and shaped this art form beyond borders. One cannot speak or write about contemporary dance in Canada; or indeed internationally; without acknowledging the breadth of his capacity and genius. His influence over the past 20 years has been phenomenal: he has created a unique choreographic language, literally transforming the landscape of contemporary dance and building his company, La La La Human Steps, into one of the world's most exciting and innovative dance troupes.

Edouard Lock was born in Casablanca, Morocco, in 1954 and emigrated to Quebec when he was three. Originally drawn to writing and poetry, he became interested in dance at the age of nineteen, and worked with various Montreal dance companies including the Groupe Nouvelle Aire and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens.

He formed his own company, Lock-Danseurs (later renamed La La La Human Steps) in 1980.The reputation of the company grew quickly, and within a few years Lock's work was sending shock waves throughout the international dance community.

The company's repertoire includes such striking works as their inaugural production, Lily Marlene in the Jungle (1980); Oranges (1981, winner of the Jean A. Chalmers Award for choreography); and Businessman in the Process of Becoming an Angel (1983). The premiere of Human Sex in 1985 launched the company on a two-year world tour, a cycle that would be repeated with successive productions: New Demons (1987), Infante c'est destroy (1991), 2 (1995), Exaucé /Salt (1998). Lock also acted as artistic director for David Bowie's Sound and Vision tour (1990), and La La La performed in The Yellow Shark, composed by the late Frank Zappa for the Ensemble Modern of Germany (1992).

Edouard Lock has also created works for the National Ballet of Holland and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, and has collaborated on countless television and film projects.

"Through the wild and impassioned bodies of his dancers, often pushed to the limits of abstraction, Lock focuses less on theme or history than on movement in its purest sense. The notion of physical surpassment, of genuine effort and risk-taking, permeates his artistic approach. Information overload, extreme rapidity of movement, gestural complexity, the intertwining of choreographic, musical and cinematic strands - these are among the elements that create a sense of illusion, of perceptual distortion... Edouard Lock attempts to bring out the poetry in the body while presenting a unique sensorial experience for the viewer." (La La La Human Steps Web site,

In addition to being a brilliant choreographer, Mr. Lock is a provocative and fascinating writer and a gifted photographer and filmmaker whose photographs have been exhibited around the world.

In June 2000, to mark the 20th anniversary of the founding of La La La Human Steps, the Canada Dance Festival featured a special homage to Edouard Lock, including a performance of Exaucé/Salt, an exhibition of Mr. Lock's photographs, film and video screenings of some of his works, and other special activities.

Awards and honours include: two Jean A. Chalmers Awards, Canada's highest choreographic honour (1981, for Oranges, and 2001, for Exaucé/Salt; a Bessie, New York's Performance Award (1986, for Human Sex); named Chevalier de l'Ordre national du Québec (2001).