| Mats Bäcker

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s debut as a choreographer was in 1999 with Andrew Wale’s contemporary musical, Anonymous Society. Since then, he has made over 50 full-fledged choreographic pieces and picked up a slew of awards, including two Olivier Awards, three Ballet Tanz awards for Best Choreographer (2008, 2011, 2017) and the Kairos Prize (2009) for his artistic vision and his quest for intercultural dialogue.

In 2008 Cherkaoui premiered Sutra at Sadler’s Wells. This award-winning collaboration with artist 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 (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 dancer María Pagés (both 2009), he launched his own company Eastman, resident at DE SINGEL International Arts Centre (Antwerp).  

In 2015, Cherkaoui directed his first full-length theatre production Pluto based on the award-winning manga series by Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki at Bunkamura in Tokyo, bringing the beloved manga character Astro Boy to life on stage, and was movement director for Lyndsey Turner's Hamlet starring Benedict Cumberbatch at the Barbican Centre in London. He also made a trio Harbor Me commissioned by the L.A. Dance Project and choreographed a new Firebird for Stuttgart Ballet. In the same year, Cherkaoui created a new production Fractus V for his company Eastman, in which he also performs.

Since 2015, Cherkaoui has been artistic director at the Royal Ballet Flanders, where he has created Fall (2015), Exhibition (2016) and Requiem (2017). He combines this function with his title as artistic director of Eastman and keeps creating new work along with the artistic entourage of this company.

In 2019, Cherkaoui made his Broadway debut as choreographer for the Alanis Morissette musical Jagged Little Pill, directed by Diane Paulus and with a book by Diablo Cody. For this production, he was nominated for a Tony Award in the category Best Choreography. He is the first Belgian choreographer to be nominated in this category.

Starting from the season 2022-2023, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui will direct the Ballet of the Grand Théâtre de Genève. He is also an associate artist at Sadler’s Wells (London) and Théâtre National de Bretagne (Rennes).