The voice is joyful, bursting with energy. A few minutes before his meeting, Wednesday June 16, at 8 p.m., with the 22 dancers of the Ballet of the Grand Théâtre de Genève, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui is light as if he was leaping on a trampoline. At the forefront of the international scene since his first scathing show, Nothing at all (2000), the 45-year-old choreographer was appointed director of the Ballet by the Foundation Board of the Grand Théâtre de Genève and its director general, Aviel Cahn. ” I am very happy, he exclaims. It is a way to relaunch my life and my journey that this pandemic has all the same put on hold. Obviously, I have worked, watched, listened, but I need and want to start something new. I saw as a sign that Philippe Cohen, director, is retiring. He was the one who, in 2005, commissioned me for the show Far, which opened up this creative journey with repertoire companies and gave me a tremendous boost to my career. “
At the head of the Ballet de Flandres in Antwerp since 2015, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui will leave his post in 2022. “I am happy with the work I did with the classical Antwerp troupe, he said. Next season, which will be my last, the dancers will perform The Rite of Spring, by Pina Bausch, C (h) œurs, Alain Platel, as well as Mozart/Concert Aria’s, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, who are my sources as an artist. »
“Impose yourself through simplicity”
After attending the PARTS school of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, in Brussels, Cherkaoui immersed himself in dance through television shows in which he participated between the ages of 17 and 19 while taking classical lessons. He joined the Ballets C. de la B., in Ghent (Belgium), and distinguished himself, incandescent, in the show Lets Op Bach (1997), by Alain Platel. Curious and prolific, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, always in the process of gaining new techniques (singing, piano, flamenco, tango…), has displayed around fifty pieces for twenty years. He likes to invite cultures from the antipodes on stage to weave shimmering images and music.
From the Théâtre royal de la Monnaie in Brussels to the Royal Ballet in London and the Opéra national de Paris, through musicals and music videos – he collaborated with Beyoncé for the viral video Apeshit, realized in 2018 at the Louvre Museum -, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui connects the most varied projects. In 2019, he said in an interview with World. “The hardest part is to win through simplicity. I return to the source as soon as I feel that I am moving away from what I am: an Arab born in the suburbs. I had to catch up with a huge delay in cultural and artistic knowledge. Until the age of 20, I had no idea of contemporary dance, opera or really the history of ballet. Today, my career is focused on these three fields. It ultimately helped me not to come from a world of privilege. I brought other perspectives. It’s a constant struggle for identity, but you develop endurance and compassion. ”
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