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Jacques Lecoq

Jacques Lecoq
  • 1921 - 1999
  • France
  • Actor
  • Artistic director
  • Choreographer


"As a young man Jacques Lecoq was a keen practitioner of various sports, including swimming and, in particular, gymnastics, which he took up at the age of 17. Hours of work on the parallel and uneven bars opened his eyes to the essential geometry of movement. He described the rhythm and movement of the gymnast’s body in abstract terms, considering it to be an especially moving form of physical poetry.
Lecoq studied at the Bagatelle school of physical education, just outside Paris, and began his career as a sports and physical education teacher.
In 1945, alongside Tonia Cariffa, Hubert Deschamps and Julien Verdier, he joined Jean Dasté’s theatre company as an actor. It was here that he first discovered mask theatre. In 1948 he went off to the theatre of the University of Padova, determined to get to grips with commedia dell'arte. While in Italy, he created his first original pantomimes. This sojourn also provided an opportunity to explore the connections between teaching and creativity. He began researching theatrical masks with the help of Italian sculptor Amleto Sartori, giving rise to the famous “neutral mask”, among others. He also met Dario Fo during this period, and directed the chorus for performances of Greek tragedies in Siracusa. 
In 1956 he returned to Paris and founded his eponymous school of theatre and mime, where he taught for the rest of his life. In 1958 he authored the serial drama La Belle Équipe, directed by Ange Casta, for ORTF. In 1977 he founded the Laboratory for the Study of Movement (LEM), devoted to dynamic research into space and rhythm in the interests of stage performance.
“Teaching is all about the dynamics of movement; it involves the body, the first element by which we recognise life, replaying everything that moves, bringing life into the theatre.”

Les Mummenschanz, Ariane Mnouchkine, Isaac Alvarez, Philippe Gaulier, Luc Bondy, Philippe Avron, Toby Jones, Christoph Marthaler, Andreas Vitásek, Yasmina Reza, Yolande Moreau, Alain Gautré, Alain Mollot, William Kentridge, Geofrrey Rush, Isla Fisher, Simon McBurney, Steven Berkoff have all studied under Lecoq.
""You must inhabit each action, as the body inhabits the world."" Jacques Lecoq."

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