Professionally known as Les Twins, identical twin brothers Laurent and Larry Bourgeois (born December 6, 1988) are French dancers, choreographers, and models. Often referred to by their respective nicknames, "Lil Beast" and "Ca Blaze", they're recognised internationally for their talents in new style hip-hop dancing.
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 32 million views as of February 9, 2016. In 2011 they won the Hip-hop New Style division of the prestigious international street dance competition Juste Debout.
Les Twins have been featured dancers for various music artists, including Beyoncé, Meghan Trainor and Missy Elliott. Standing at 6'4" (193 cm) tall, the brothers have modelled for French haute couture fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier and appeared in a large number of high-profile, commercial advertising campaigns.
In addition to teaching their original choreography in workshops around the globe, they're additionally the founding members of the successful dance team Criminalz Crew.
Early life and career beginnings
The twins were born on December 6, 1988 in Sarcelles, a commune in the northern suburbs of Paris, France. They are the youngest in a large, Guadeloupean extended family of 9 children that includes two additional sets of twins, and a brother 25 years their senior.
Neither Larry nor Laurent received any formal dance training. Instead, they learned by observing additional 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 favourites 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.
In August 2010 a video of their performance on the World of Dance tour in San Diego went viral on YouTube. On November 9, 2010 they made their U.S. television debut on The Ellen Degeneres Show.
In March 2011 the twins won the Hip-hop New Style division at Juste Debout, beating out over 353 dancers. That same year they performed alongside Beyoncé at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards, the U.K.'s Glastonbury Festival, the BET Awards, and the Good Morning America Summer Concert Series, garnering even greater attention on the world stage. They additionally joined her on the French television shows X-Factor and Le Grand Journal to promote her then upcoming album 4, and were the only featured male dancers in the alternate version of her "Run the World (Girls)" music video. Their collaboration with Knowles would continue in May 2012 at the Revel Presents: Beyoncé Live concert series in Atlantic City.
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.
During November 2012 they guest starred on the television dance competition Everybody Dance! in Ukraine and teamed up again with Missy Elliott at the Beats on the Beach event in Abu Dhabi and the Back2Black Festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In December 2012 the twins began working on multiple projects with Sony Japan. In 2013, they toured with Beyoncé as the only male dancers on The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. The duo was additionally featured in the music video of "Blow", from Beyoncé's self-titled fifth studio album.
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 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.
They have after been featured in numerous web, television, and print advertising campaigns, including for Jay-Z’s viral video campaign "That’s Rocawear", New Era, Benetton, Givenchy, H&M, Adidas, Pioneer Steez, EMOBILE, 25 Magazine, Beats By Dre, and Hewlett-Packard.
Larry and Laurent have travelled the globe teaching their original choreography in countries including the U.S., France, 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 a few 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 a large number of of plagiarising 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 categorised as hip-hop new style, a commercial form of hip hop with a strong emphasis on isolations and musicality. Notwithstanding 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's truly individual to them...They are in perfect symbiosis. They look totally disjointed with their quite jerky movements, although at the same time displaying an amazing fluidity. They undulate, bend and twist, impossible to assess where their centre of gravity lies: both phenomenal and unreal.
Les Twins are immediately recognisable for their large afros and trademark style of dress—backwards pants, neck warmers, and kneepads worn around the ankles. Regarding their tendency to adopt additional unique accessories, such as beaded bracelets and necklaces, wristbands, watch chains, scarves, and ladies’ wear, Laurent stated: "We have changed consciousness about fashion."
- Nov 9: The Ellen Degeneres Show (U.S.) – guests
- Nov 12: ABC News (U.S.) – featured in interview on turfing dance style
- May 22: 2011 Billboard Music Awards (U.S.) – performed with Beyoncé
- June 26: Glastonbury Festival 2011 (U.K.) – live televised BBC performance with Beyoncé
- June 26: 2011 BET Awards (U.S.) – pre-taped footage from Glastonbury performance with Beyoncé
- June 27: X Factor (France) – performed with Beyoncé
- June 28: Le Grand Journal (France) – performed with Beyoncé
- Nov 8: Dancing With the Stars (U.S.) – performed with the Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour
- Aug 17: Les Twins: Born to Dance (U.K.) – BET International documentary
- May 24: The Making Of A Concert Part 1 of 2 (U.S.) – footage from Revel Presents: Beyoncé Live performance
- July 24: Star Draft Conference (Nippon TV/Japan) – guests/judges
- Nov 9: Everybody Dance! (Ukraine) – guests
- Nov 17: Dancer’s World "Les Twins Special" (Japan) – Music On! TV interview with host Sam
- Feb 3: Beyoncé O2 Priority TV Ad (U.K.) – promotion of The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour
- Feb 16: Life Is But a Dream HBO special (U.S.) – rehearsal footage from the 2011 Billboard Music Awards
- Feb 22: VH-1 Best Week Ever (U.S.) – commentary on Les Twins' appearance in Life Is But a Dream
- Mar 31: Vivement Dimanche (France) – actress Monica Bellucci discusses discovering Les Twins via footage from their final 2008 Incroyable Talent performance
- May 19: Beats By Dre Neon Mixr Commercial (U.S.) – promotion of Neon Mixr headphones for Target retail stores
- June 1: Chime For Change's "The Sound of Change Live" charity concert at London's Twickenham Stadium (broadcast to 150 countries) – performed with Beyoncé
- June 2: "The Women’s Concert for Change: Live from London" (U.S.) – NBC 2-hour special with highlights from the live Chime For Change concert performance
- Jan 29: The Arsenio Hall Show (U.S.) – guests
- Jan 31: 106 & Park (U.S.) – guests
- Apr 21: Encontro com Fátima Bernardes (Brazil) – guests
- Aug 24: MTV Video Music Awards (U.S.) – performed with Beyoncé
- Sep 3: So You Think You Can Dance Season 11 finale show (U.S.) – guest performers
- Nov 26: HP Pavilion x360 "Bend the Rules" Commercial (U.S.)
- Feb 11: The Queen Latifah Show (U.S.) – guests
- Jun 10: The AppNexus Summit (Europe) (King's Place London, U.K.)
- Jun 11: Marrakech du rire (Morocco) – guests & performed with Jamel Debbouze
Music video appearances
- "Danse avec moi" by Les Déesses (2007)
- "Joie de Vivre (Zouglou Dance)" by Magic System (2008)
- "Ca fait mal Remix" by La Fouine (2008)
- "Dilly Dally" by Hakimakli featuring Jamie Shepherd (2009)
- "La Gloria" by French-Argentine band Gotan Project (2010) 
- "Run the World (Girls)" alternate video by Beyoncé (2011)
- "End of Time: Live at Roseland" by Beyoncé (2011) 
- "Play Hard" by David Guetta featuring Ne-Yo and Akon (2013) 
- "Now Is The Time" by Wally Lopez featuring Jasmine Villegas for Pepsi (2013) 
- "Blow" by Beyoncé (2013)
- "Jealous" by Beyoncé (2013) 
- "Flawless (Remix)" featuring Nicki Minaj by Beyoncé (2014) 
- "Bang It To The Curb" by Far East Movement (2014) 
- "Lips Are Movin" by Meghan Trainor (2014)
- "Ayo" by Chris Brown and Tyga (2015) 
- "Dope Walk" by A$AP Ferg feat. Cara Delevingne (2015) 
- "Tattoo" ABCD 2 (2015) (Bollywood Movie)
- "Sapés comme jamais" by Maître Gims feat. Niska (2015)
- "WTF (Where They From)" by Missy Elliott featuring Pharrell Williams (2015)
Awards and nominations
- Won – 2010 Battle of the Stylez - Germany 
- Won – 2011 Juste Debout Japan (Preselections): Hip-hop New Style Division
- Won – 2011 Juste Debout Finals: Hip-hop New Style Division
- Won – 2011 Dance@Live Japan Hip-hop West Division (battled each additional in the finals - Laurent won individually) 
- Nominated – 2011 Youth Rocks Awards: Rockin’ Dance Group of the Year 
- Won – 2012 Hip Hop International: All Styles Final World Battle (Larry won individually) 
- Won – 2012 Freestyle Session 15: Top Styles/All Styles Division 
- Won – 2014 World of Dance Industry Awards - Simple Mobile Game Changer Freestyle Award 
- Won – 2014 World of Dance All Styles 2 vs. 2 Final, Las Vegas 
- Won – 2015 Full Force “7 to Smoke” All Styles Battle, Las Vegas (Larry won individually) 
- Nominated – 2015 World of Dance Industry Awards - Simple Mobile Game Changer Freestyle Award 
- Nominated – 2015 Teen Choice Awards - Choice Dancer