Les Twins: “There are lots of reasons why we’ve never stopped moving.”
With crackling precision, Les Twins gave us a peek behind the curtain at the high-energy yet opaque world of freestyle dancing.
The world-renowned French urban movement phenomenon, Laurent and Larry Bourgeois, known professionally as Les Twins, are talented at being joyful – you can see their big heart through their big eyes whenever they flash that sparkling, goofy, wonderful smile. However the audience likes them best when they don’t even smirk, but when they are going all in with their captivating, energy-filled freestyles. When these self-taught talents – born and raised in Sarcelles, in the North of Paris – dance, they do that with the restraint to let their sculpted jaws hover austerely while their outrageous bodies do the work of showing how much they love moving. One can argue that they are at their smouldering best, amid a career built on being outrageously bendable but definitely, childishly fun. “When we dance together, the power is incredible.”
When these urban movement creators dance, their bodies explode with the intensity of two artists whose expression can’t be tamed, but whose beauty lies in the attempts to control it. They are soul and skill but also the electrifying result of somebody trying to tame the untameable. Their unruly bodies rose to the precise demands of choreography – and most notably, they made a splash in their early teens by taking their unique style of dance to the streets of Paris. That splash quickly turned into waves that broke across the Parisian street dance scene, where outrageous requirements for dancer flexibility is boss. They drew inspiration from what was in the air and on the airwaves, picking up classical moves and incorporating them into their repertoire to light up dance floors, and other spectrums, with their freestyles.
“When we realized that dance could take us so far, we decided to incorporate into it a little bit of everything else it touches — video, personal style, music, staging, producing. We never do anything by halves. We live life like a dance: each step is important.”
Obviously, they are extremely talented, to the extent that their wild sheets of dark hair and operatic cheekbones brought their desirability into the terrain of excess – which made sense, because when they moved, everything became a little more. Soon, their success had spread well beyond the Parisian underground. In 2008, they shot to fame as finalists on the TV show ‘Incroyable Talent’, the French version of the ‘Got Talent’ franchise.
“In our videos everything is improvised, we could never reproduce any of it. It’s a moment, it’s life, it’s instinct. The one constant is that we always give our best, push ourselves to go further, and wind up someplace totally unexpected.”
And push themselves they did, with dance moves where the angle of their backs was a little more acute in its arch and their pelvises were a little more fluid. Their legs always seem to open a little wider, followed by gestures that reach all the way down to their fingertips. They flowed when they were meant to, and even when they were writhing, they were writing history. “We live life like dance steps. We’re always saying that every move is important. Dance is about being right there in the moment, it’s about life and instinct — we don’t over-think it.”
In 2010, a US breakthrough came when a video of their World of Dance performance in San Diego went viral, earning more than 50 million views to date. Shortly after, they went from dancing on the streets of Paris to sharing a stage with Beyoncé as the only male dancers on ‘The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour.’ “One night, we showed up and danced on the Champs-Elysées. Alicia Keys saw us, and we performed with her the next day in Paris. That’s how it started. Then we saved up and flew to New York and danced in Times Square, which is where Jay-Z and Beyoncé spotted us, and we danced in her world tour.”
A tour where they, like so many times before, danced their hearts out. At one point during the performance, they lope, then freeze toward the camera, in amplified Les Twins attire, the outfits and sneakers, with the alternating precision of a predator and its paralyzed prey. They bend over backwards, extend their legs past the reasonable and toward the infinite, and make the moves look unfathomably cool. At one point, when they face away from the camera, it seems like they are winding themselves up to finish the job of killing the audience. The best part, however, is when they, in closeup, close their eyes and lower their heads, then nod, like, “Yeah, that’s right,” before they open their eyes to meet the audience's. It is in that moment that herds of screaming fans feel they’ve been conquered by the duo. They own the crowd. And they never even blinked.
Hennessy V.S x Les Twins "LIL BEAST"
The art of creating Hennessy Very Special reveals surprising parallels with the world of dance. Using motion capture technology, Maison Hennessy preserved the exhilarating energy of Les Twins’ live performance and transposed those digital images into an original limited edition design. For the first time, a single limited edition is represented by two complementary graphic designs: each bottle features a likeness of either Laurent or Larry.
Hennessy V.S x Les Twins "CA BLAZE"
For the Hennessy Very Special 2021 limited edition, the French urban movement creators Laurent and Larry Bourgeois express the pulse of street culture in a dual design incorporating freestyle dance, original music and the Maison’s first-ever fashion capsule collection. Far more than a classic collaboration, this Hennessy Very Special partnership marks a brand-new horizon and a groundbreaking meeting of minds.
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