Sidi Larbi
Cherkaoui, Damien Jalet

Benois de la Danse laureate

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

He is from Antwerp. His first dalliance with art was not dance, but drawing. Cherkaoui's first experience as a choreographer was with the'contemporary musical' Anonymous Society. Cherkaoui also danced in this production for which he won several awards including the Fringe First Award and the Total Theatre Award in Edinburgh, and the Barclay Theatre award in London.

Rien de Rien, Cherkaoui's first choreography as a member of Les Ballets C. de la B. artistic team, toured Europe in 2000 and won the Special Prize at the BITEF Festival in Belgrade. He worked on this production with singer and dancer Damien Jalet.

In 2002 Larbi and Nienke Reehorst also led a workshop for mentally disabled actors at Theatre Stap in Turnhout, which led to the production Ook. In July 2002 he took part in Le Vif du Sujet in Avignon, dancing in It, a Wim Vandekeybus production. In the autumn of 2002 he and Damien Jalet and a number of dancers from the Sasha Waltz company created D'avant for the Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz in Berlin.

At the request of the Festival d'Avignon, in July 2004 Larbi presented a new project with Les Ballets C. de la B. Entitled Tempus Fugit. In December 2004 Cherkaoui made In Memoriam at Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, and for the Ballet du Grand Théatre de Genève he choreographed Loin, which was premièred in April 2005.

In 2005 Larbi worked with Akram Khan for the first time. Together they created and danced the production Zero Degrees about the effect of their mixed cultural backgrounds. Zero Degrees was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award.

The spring of 2006 took Larbi back to Monte Carlo, where he made a new creation for Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, Mea Culpa (2006). His new creation End, made for the Cullberg Ballet, had its première at the Gothenburg Dance and Theatre Festival (2006).

In 2006 Larbi came back to his hometown, Antwerp. Myth became the first production with Toneelhuis. September 2007 brought the première of Apocrifu (Apocrypha) commissioned by La Monnaie in Brussels. The title is telling: a concise but key scene from Apocrifu (in which the three dancers take it in turns as three-headed monsters to read aloud from the Talmud, the Koran and the Bible).

Sutra, Sidi Larbi's brand-new project in collaboration with monks from the Shaolin Temple in China, was produced by Sadler's Wells where it had its world premiere in May 2008 before touring across the globe through 2008 and 2009. The piece fetched him a nomination in the Best Choreographer (Modern) category at the 2009 National Dance Awards in Britain. It also won the 2009 Ballettanz award.

2009 brought his first commissioned work for an American company: Orbo Novo (meaning The New World) choreographed for the New York-based Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet. Cherkaoui choreographed Faun as part of Sadler's Wells' collective evening In the spirit of Diaghile (2009).

In 2010 based his company Eastman. In April, De Munt will host the world premiere of Babel, choreographed together with Damien Jalet.

Damien Jalet

Damien Jalet is French and Belgian. After his first studies in theatre at the I. N. S. A. S. (National Institute of the Performing Arts, Brussels) he shifted to contemporary dance studying it in Belgium and in New York. He started his dance career with Wim Vandekeybus on the show The Day of Heaven and Hell in 1998 and danced with choreographers such as Ted Stoffer and Christine De Smedt.

In 2000 he began an intense collaboration with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui as his artistic partner within the company LES BALLETS C. DE LA B. They created Rien de rien (2000), Foi (2003), Tempus Fugit (2004), and Myth (2007).

In 2002 he created the piece D'avant in collaboration with Cherkaoui, Luc Dunberry and Juan Kruz Diaz de Garaio Esnaola, this piece is still touring all over the world as a piece of the repertoire of Sasha Waltz and Guests; the short movie The Unclear Age in 2005, co-directed with Erna Ómarsdóttir and the movie makers Dumspiro. Together with Erna Ómarsdóttir, Gabriela Fridriksdóttir and Raven he created the piece Ofaett (Unborn) for the Theatre National de Bretagne.

In 2006 he created the short duet Aleko for the Museum of Contemporary Art of Aomori, Japan, in collaboration with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Alexandra Gilbert. He has been collaborating with the French director Arthur Nauzyciel and the actress Anne Brochet for the creation of L'image of Samuel Beckett for the celebration of his centenary in Dublin. This Piece has been presented in 2008 at the Fiaf festival in New York with this time the french actress Lou Doillon.

On the invitation of the philosopher Giorgio Agemben, he also signed the choreography for the contemporary opera Il cielo sulla terra from Stefano Scodanibbio, for the Opera of Stuttgart.

In 2008 together with Nick Knight and Bernhard Willhelm he directed the video men in tights, presentation of the Willhelm Men's collection 2008-09, this being a first step of an artistic collaboration with the designer.

He also signed the choreographic work of Julius Caesar for the American Repertory Theater, Boston and Ordet for the festival d'Avignon 2008, both pieces directed by Arthur Nauzyciel.

In March 2008 he premiered “ three spells” at the Tokyo International Arts Festival, live music by Christian Fennesz.

He assisted Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui for the creation of the piece In Memoriam for Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo and Loin for the Ballet of the Grand Theatre of Geneva, and for the Cullberg Ballet and Sutra for 16 Shaolin Monks.

In 2009 he plays one of the key role of the first theater play of the writer Marie Darrieussecq «Le musée de la mer» directed by Arthur Nauzyciel for the National Theater of Reykjavik. He also co-directed the performance “transaquania-out of the blue“ in collaboration with Erna Omarsdottir and visuall artist Gabriela Fridriksdottir for the Icelandic dance cie. The piece took place in the mythical Blue Lagoon.

He then co-directed with Omarsdottir the piece “Black Marrow” for the australian company Chunky Move, wich premiered in the respected Melbourne Arts Festival.

Damien Jalet stars with Alexandra Gilbert in the video „you don't know love” from Editors, shot by cinematographer Christopher Doyle and directed by Arni and Kinski.