The most important element of life is who you impact, and what you are able to do on your part to make this world a better place and people happy. Impact is something that can come in different forms. For some, impact is through the things they say. For others, impact is through the things they do. And then for a select few, the ability to impact and influence others comes through your art. That’s the case with Laurent and Larry Nicolas Bourgeois aka Les Twins, the Parisian dance duo who have been at the forefront of the dance community for over a decade. The two are currently on the massive Renaissance World Tour with Beyoncé, but have still found the time to lend a hand down to the community.
Laurent and Larry have recently partnered with Kids Write Network (KWN), an award-winning youth program using art, music, and dance to help children and young adults improve coping skills, build self-confidence, and overcome mental health obstacles. They are changing lives, but are too humble to see it.
“The twins are literally saving lives,” says KWN founder Helen Georgaklis. “We’ve been told by students and teachers that they are saving lives.” Even with the praise from Helen, Laurent and Laurent shift the compliments back to her. “I have to give it to her because for most humble artists it would be hard for them to speak about themselves like this,” continues Laurent. “I know what I’m doing from a creative standpoint—but we didn’t know the impact it was having from a mental health standpoint.”
Helen points out that the results of Les Twins work is measurable, and that you can clearly see how they’ve been able to bring people from a negative to a positive—a lasting impact so to speak.
This impact wouldn’t be possible without the dance talent of Laurent and Larry, so I ask them how dance has played a pivotal role in their lives. Larry takes the reins on this one: “When we were young we never knew our value. When you live in the hood, people can put you down and it’s very hard to see what you can do,” adding that to this day people still have a way of sometimes putting a negative spin on things. “People will say you’re Les Twins, but you still haven’t put money on this or bought a house, etc.,—it’s because we were born in a hard society where people put us in a block,” continues Larry.
Dance has never been about the money for Laurent and Larry, rather it’s about channeling the art that’s within them and expressing it to the world.
While humility is at the forefront of both Laurent and Larry’s personalities, their journey remains an inspiring one having gone from dancing on the streets of Paris and under the Eiffel Tower, to performing alongside some of the world’s biggest artists. And as Larry notes, it wasn’t an easy or particularly “fast journey” (he uses the term slow motion to describe their ascension). “The four million followers we have—it feels like they know us,” says Larry. He continues, “The people that talk to us and meet us—it just feels like they have known us for a long time.”
Laurent then adds to the convo saying, “These kids that we’re meeting—they don’t even know what’s ahead, and they don’t even know themselves. Everything we do is just totally improvised, so we don’t know ahead of time what impact we’re going to make either. It’s mind blowing to see where dance can take you.”
It is indeed mindblowing to see the places that your art can land you. In fact, if you work hard enough, you might even find yourself dancing right next to Beyoncé. We ended the conversation asking Laurent and Larry how this Renaissance Tour is different from any other time they’ve been on the road with the legend.
“We never try to do better than before—we always do. It’s insane! As we speak right now—I want to make the choreography harder,” says Larry with Laurent then adding: “Of course it’s amazing—we don’t realize until we realize you know? Even if there was no money for dancing, dance would still be my lifestyle. Touring, seeing new faces, and doing what we’re doing is a great experience. We want to bring joy and inspire the world!”
And they’re doing an incredible job in our estimation.
You can continue to keep up with Les Twins via Instagram.