Art with a message. Larry and Laurent Bourgeois — better known as Les Twins — are currently touring the globe with Beyoncé, but they’re also finding time to give back using the thing they love most: dance.
The French dancers, 34, partnered last year with Kids Write Network, a youth program that helps children and young adults build self-confidence and improve their mental health using art, music and dance. The duo have led workshops at schools across Canada as part of their RISE for Mental Health Tour, which will debut in the United States this October at the Pace Academy in Atlanta, Georgia.
According to Laurent, KWN founder Helen Georgaklis “kidnapped” him and his brother to work with her organization after seeing them perform. “She literally fell in love with the way we were working with strangers,” the choreographer exclusively told Us Weekly. “She loved the way I educated people, because it was more than just dancing.”
Fans of Beyoncé, 41, will recognize Les Twins from her videos and tours dating back to 2011, but the twosome have been dancing for far longer than that. As they tell it, they never learned to dance — they were just born doing it.
“It’s totally emotional,” Laurent explained. “It’s like babies [when] they don’t know how to speak. Their body is speaking, when they’re mad, when they’re happy, when they’re super happy, when they’re hungry … their bodies are speaking and dancing 24/7.”
The brothers want their dance workshops to help kids learn how to express themselves through art, even if they’re not as naturally attracted to dance as Les Twins were. In many cases, they’ve seen students come out of their shells after a class.
“They release something,” Laurent told Us. “They just literally understand who they are. They understand what is wrong right now about themselves and they’re like, ‘It’s time to make a change.’”
Georgaklis, for her part, noted that the Bourgeois twins have a knack for picking out kids in the crowd who most need one-on-one attention from a caring adult.
“They pick them out of the audience, having not known anything about their background,” she told Us. “[We’ve] had teachers that are sending us messages just saying, ‘We can’t thank you enough, because last week this child was gonna kill himself, and today he actually wants to live because he’s found this newfound freedom in his own body.’ You’re dealing with people that feel trapped in their own body … and then suddenly they’ll go through this process and realize that they don’t have to be trapped anymore.”
After Les Twins wrap up their stint with the Renaissance Tour in September, they won’t have much of a break before they head back out on the road with KWN, taking their unique methods of dance to schools across North America. As for why they like working with kids so much, Laurent has a simple answer.
“Because they’re my future,” he explained. “Kids, they love you or they don’t. You have to deal with this love, and it’s raw, and I’m really about that. It’s beautiful.”