Professionally known as Les Twins, identical twin brothers Laurent Nicolas and Larry Nicolas Bourgeois (born December 6, 1988) are French dancers, choreographers, producers, and models and designers and creative directors of their brand "Eleven Paris". Additionally, Larry Nicolas sings and Laurent Nicolas raps, and together they have released two songs. Often referred to by their respective nicknames, "Lil Beast" and "Ca Blaze", they are recognized internationally for their talents in new style hip-hop dancing, and various dancing styles.
Born and raised in Sarcelles, France, the self-taught dance duo became the darlings of the French audience in 2008 as finalists on the popular television show Incroyable Talent. They quickly rose to prominence in the United States after a video of their performance on the San Diego leg of the 2010 World of Dance tour went viral on YouTube, with over 37 million views as of 5 July 2017[update]. In 2011, they won the hip-hop new style division of the prestigious international street dance competition Juste Debout. In 2017, they won the American reality competition series World of Dance, executive produced by Jennifer Lopez. The series featured solo acts and larger groups, competing for a grand prize of US $1 million.
In addition to teaching their original choreography in workshops around the globe, they are also the founding members of the successful dance team Criminalz Crew and founding members of "Eleven Paris".
Neither Larry nor Laurent received any formal dance training. Instead, they learned by observing other breakers, lockers, and poppers and by teaching themselves classical ballet techniques. At the age of 12, they began performing in concerts and musicals. According to WAD Magazine, "They were born dancers. They walked at 5 months, seriously moved their bodies at 18 months old, and at 9 they showed off steps they had invented to youngsters twice their age in their neighborhood."
In 2005, the brothers recruited five members to form their own dance team called Criminalz Crew, spending the next few years competing in hip-hop tournaments and entertaining crowds as street performers and in clubs. In 2007, they danced to sold-out audiences in the musical Pas de Quartier at France's esteemed Avignon Festival.
In March 2008 Les Twins gained the attention of the dance community by defeating French street dancers Joseph Go and Meech Onomo at the semi-finals of the prestigious international dance competition Juste Debout. Following that success, they were finalists and audience favorites on Season 3 of Incroyable Talent (the French equivalent of Britain's Got Talent) aired on M6. On November 13, 2008 the twins were among the top twelve finalists competing on the Incroyable Talent finale show attended by Princess Stéphanie of Monaco and watched by over 4 million viewers. In 2009, they were contracted to perform the two-man hip-hop comedy stage revue Twins choreographed by their long-time coach Abibou "Playmo" Kébe at the Théâtre Trévise in Paris.
On March 6, 2012 the pair joined rapper Big Sean on-stage at the after-party for Kanye West's Fall 2012 fashion show at La Halle Freyssinet in Paris. One month later, they performed with Missy Elliott and Timbaland at Hennessy's "Wild Rabbit" campaign launch event in New York.
Les Twins debuted on Japan's largest television network Nippon TV on July 24, 2012.
In 2012 and 2014, Les Twins appeared in episodes of Avengers of eXtreme Illusions, the revolutionary dance series by Welling Films. After the videos came out, Les Twins put their own cut of Welling's work on their own YouTube channel.
In 2014, Les Twins joined Beyoncé and her husband Jay-Z on their On the Run Tour. In 2015, Les Twins appeared in a special freestyle dance in the song "Tattoo" in Bollywood film ABCD 2, which was directed by Remo D'Souza.
Larry and Laurent have traveled the globe teaching their original choreography in countries including France, the U.S, Japan, Canada, Russia, Germany, Italy, Finland, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Kyrgyzstan. Crowds of up to 5000 people have been in attendance at some of their international dance workshops.
In June 2011, Fox broadcast a portion of the audition piece of contestants D*Day (Damon Bellmon and Deon Lewis) on Season 8 of the dance competition So You Think You Can Dance. Although they were accused by many of plagiarizing their choreography from Les Twins' World of Dance San Diego performance on YouTube, D*Day was allowed to proceed to the next stage of the competition. In 2012, Bellman and Lewis returned on the SYTYCD Season 9 Atlanta auditions show claiming (with archived footage from the Show) their prior year's routine was a homage to Les Twins' work.
Les Twins' dance style is often categorized as New Style hip-hop, a commercial form of hip hop with a strong emphasis on isolations and musicality. However, the twins are known for having created a unique style from this dance which they refer to as "Twins-Style". Due to their ability to anticipate and finish each other's moves, the brothers quickly gained a reputation for their timing and skill at making freestyle dance look like choreography. Charlotte Guillemin of WAD Magazine wrote:
They have really created a form of hip-hop that is truly individual to them...They are in perfect symbiosis. They look totally disjointed with their very jerky movements, although at the same time displaying an amazing fluidity. They undulate, bend and twist, impossible to assess where their center of gravity lies: both phenomenal and unreal.
Larry and Laurent credit their major inspirations as Michael Jackson, their coach Abibou "Playmo" Kébe, cartoons, and their own siblings, nine of whom are also dancers.
Les Twins are immediately recognizable for their large afros and trademark style of dress--backwards pants, neck warmers, and kneepads worn around the ankles. Regarding their tendency to adopt other unique accessories, such as beaded bracelets and necklaces, wristbands, watch chains, scarves, and ladies' wear, Laurent stated: "We have changed consciousness about fashion."
^Reed, Nastya (August 25, 2011). "? Les Twins: "? ? ? ? "" [Laurent of Les Twins: "For the sake of dance I go anywhere"] (in Russian). 4Dance.by. Archived from the original on October 15, 2012. Retrieved 2012.
^ ab"Les Twins Criminalz Interview". Dance Delight Magazine (in Japanese). Dance Delight. 202. March 2011.
^ abcdGuillemin, Charlotte (March 2010). "The Twins". WAD Magazine (in French) (44).
^Feller, Alison (April 11, 2013). "If I Were a Boy..."Dance Spirit. Retrieved 2013. Larry and Laurent danced alongside Beyoncé at the Billboard Music Awards in 2011 and now they'll join her on The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour as the only male dancers.
^Laurent Bourgeois of Les Twins (dancers) (November 24, 2014). Beyoncé - Jealous (Adobe Flash video). beyonceVEVO Official YouTube Channel. Cameo at 1:49 to 1:56 minutes in. Archived from the original on January 27, 2015. Retrieved 2015.
^Les Twins (dancers) (February 3, 2015). Chris Brown, Tyga - Ayo (Explicit) (Adobe Flash video). ChrisBrownVEVO Official YouTube Channel. 2:04 and 2:12 minutes in. Archived from the original on February 3, 2015. Retrieved 2015.