Active in the dance community since the 1970s, Benoît Lachambre first learned about Releasing in 1985. This kinesthetic approach to movement and its use of improvisation became an important influence on his choreographic work. He decided to immerse himself in an exploratory approach to movement and its sources, to seek out the authenticity of movement. His work, both as a choreographer and a performer, has at its centre the hyper-awareness of the senses, and the connection between the somatic and the artistic is central to his practice.
Using a range of movement that draws upon the realm of possibility, Lachambre invites the dancers and the audience to re-connect with a deep awareness of feeling and perception. As he creates these ever-changing corporeal and spatial architectures, Benoît Lachambre hopes to rebuild the connections between bodies, and bring them back to their energetic, organic and perceptive function. Central to his practice is the idea of detachment, relieving the body from the constraints that political, socio-cultural and esthetic hierarchies can entail.
In his creations, Benoît Lachambre works on the performer’s dynamic, to change his or her empathetic experience with the audience. He aims to bring the dancer’s consciousness back to primordial feeling. The choreographic impulse becomes an active, palpable process of ‘letting go,’ which is re-invented again and again… There is something quite radical about his approach to choreography. His deep research into the hyper-awareness of the senses, based on somatic practice, is achieved by re-positioning affect in a context and a space, a living space. Among some of Lachambre’s most important influences are Meg Stuart (with whom he regularly collaborates), Joan Skinner, and Amélia Itcush for her work on the distribution of weight and strength in the body. Along with his work as choreographer and performer, Benoît Lachambre is known for his talent as an educator, having given classes and workshops around the world over the last 25 years.
He founded his own company in Montréal in 1996, christening it Par B.L.eux, ‘B.L.’ for his own initials and ‘eux’ for the artists he chooses to collaborate with, and who have become central to his artistic process. He fosters opportunities for encounter and exchange, and has worked with such internationally-renowned artists as Boris Charmatz, Sasha Waltz, Marie Chouinard, Louise Lecavalier, Fabrice Ramalingom as well as Meg Stuart and musician Hahn Rowe.
Benoît Lachambre is one of the foremost artist-choreographer-performers of his generation. He has created 17 works for his own company since Par B.L.eux was founded, and participated in more than 20 productions by other companies, in addition to some 25 commissioned works, including I is memory (2006, a solo for Louise Lecavalier) and the pieces JJ’s Voices (2009) and High heels too (2013), for the Cullberg Ballet.
In November 2013, Benoît Lachambre received the Grand prix de la Danse de Montréal for his exceptional contribution to the choreographic arts, following the presentation in Montreal of the work Snakeskins, a ‘false solo.’ In December 2014, he received the award for ‘Best choreographic work’ from the CALQ for Prismes, which was created for Montréal Danse. Hyperterrestres, created with choreographer Fabrice Ramalingom and composer Hahn Rowe, had its North American première during the 9th Festival TransAmériques (FTA) in 2015.
His latest solo work, Lifeguard, seeks to further deconstruct the notion of the choreographic impulse. He focuses his approach around a redefinition of performer’s and spectator’s roles. He affirms and deepens these reflections through his latest creation Fluid Grounds, a performative group installation, with was presented for the world premiere at Festival TransAmériques in June 2018.
© Véronique Soucy – 2016