Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

Nationality: BE
Current Residency: BE
Generation: 2 | 1996-1999
Last Update: February 1, 2013

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s debut as a choreographer was in 1999 with Andrew Wale’s ‘contemporary musical’, Anonymous Society. Since then he has made more than 20 full-fledged choreographic pieces and picked up a slew of awards, including the Laurence Olivier (with close associate Damien Jalet, for Babel (words), 2010), two Ballet Tanz awards for best choreographer (2008, 2011) and the Kairos Prize (2009) for his artistic vision and his quest for intercultural dialogue.

While Cherkaoui’s initial pieces were made as a core member of the Belgian collective, Les Ballets C. de la B. – Rien de Rien (2000), Foi (2003) and Tempus Fugit (2004) – he also undertook parallel projects that both expanded and consolidated his artistic vision. Ook (2000) was born from a workshop for mentally disabled actors held by Theater Stap in Turnhout with choreographer Nienke Reehorst; D’avant (2002) from an encounter with longstanding artistic partner Damien Jalet, Juan Kruz Diaz de Garaio Esnaola and Luc Dunberry of Sasha Waltz & Guests company; and zero degrees (2005) with friend and choreographer Akram Khan. He has worked with a variety of theatres, opera houses and ballet companies, but from 2004–2009 Cherkaoui was based in Antwerp where he was an artist in residence at Het Toneelhuis, the theatre that produced Myth (2007) and Origine (2008).

In 2008 Cherkaoui premiered Sutra at Sadler’s Wells. This award-winning collaboration with Antony Gormley and the Shaolin monks continues to tour the world to great critical acclaim. After his first commissioned piece in North America, Orbo Novo (for Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet) and a series of duets such as Faun (which premiered at Sadler’s Wells as part of In the Spirit of Diaghilev) and Dunas with flamenco danseuse María Pagés (both in October 2009), he launched his new company Eastman, resident at deSingel International Arts Campus (Antwerp).

Spring 2010 saw him reunited with co-choreographer Damien Jalet and Antony Gormley to make Babel(words), the third part of a triptych that began with Foi and Myth. That same year he createdRein, a duet featuring Guro Nagelhus Schia and Vebjørn Sundby, as well as Play, a duet with kuchipudi danseuse Shantala Shivalingappa and Bound, a duet for Shanell Winlock and Gregory Maqoma as part of Southern Bound Comfort.

2011 saw the creation of TeZukA, a new piece for 15 performers about the works of the master of Japanese manga, Osamu Tezuka. Cherkaoui also created Labyrinth for Dutch National Ballet.

In 2012 he created Puz/zle with 11 dancers and the Corsican men’s choir A Filetta, Lebanese singer Fadia Tomb El-Hage and Japanese musician Kazunari Abe. That year he also collaborated with Joe Wright on his movie Anna Karenina, for which Cherkaoui helmed the choreography. 

Cherkaoui is associate artist at Sadler’s Wells, London, and dance director of Festival Equilibrio in Rome.



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