Sidi Larbi

Benois de la Danse nominee

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.