Damien Jalet (BE/FR)



Damien Jalet is a French and Belgian choreographer and performer. Since 2000 he has been working as the closest and most regular collaborator of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, within Les ballets C. de la B., Toneelhuis and Eastman vzw (he danced in Rien de Rien, Foi, Tempus Fugit, Myth and TeZukA).

In 2002 Jalet and Cherkaoui created d’avant, together with Luc Dunberry and Juan Kruz Diaz de Garaio Esnaola, produced by Sasha Waltz and guests. Jalet and Cherkaoui also signed Babel (words), which won two Olivier awards in 2011 (Best new dance production and Outstanding achievement in dance for the set design by Antony Gormley) and a Prix Benois de la Danse for best choreography at Bolshoi, Moscow.

Damien Jalet also regularly works with Icelandic choreographer Erna Ómarsdóttir. Together they’ve been creating a number of works in collaboration with visual artist Gabriela Fridriksdóttir: transaquania-out of the blue, transaquania-into thin air (both for the Icelandic Dance Company) and Ofaett (unborn). Ómarsdóttir and Jalet also created Black Marrow for the renowned Australian company Chunky Move at the Melbourne international festival 2009.

In 2008 Jalet premiered Three Spells with dancer Alexandra Gilbert and composer Christian Fennesz for the Tokyo International Arts Festival.

He also worked with other renowned choreographers, such as Wim Vandekeybus (The day of heaven and hell) and Akram Khan (for whom he devised a solo segment in the piece Desh).

Jalet has developed a big number of collaborations with high-level artists in different fields, such as theatre director Arthur Nauzyciel (choreography and performances in many productions such as Julius Caesar for the A.R.T. in Boston, l'image for the centenary of Beckett in Dublin, Ordet, Jan Karski and The Seagull at the Cour d'honneur du Palais des Papes at the Avignon Festival 2012). He worked with visual artists Antony Gormley (Babel (words)) and Jim Hodges (show 2011 at Gladstone Gallery NY). He collaborated with musicians Lady and Bird on the choreography of the opera Red Waters, with Olof Arnalds (script and choreography of the music video Surrender (a duet with Björk)), Florence + The Machine (choreography of the No Light, No Light music video) and Editors (choreography of the video You don't know love). All three videos were directed by Arni and Kinski and cinematographer Christopher Doyle.

He also worked with photographer Nick Knight and designer Bernhard Willhelm (for the video Men in tights) and with philosopher Giorgio Agemben and contemporary musician Stefano Scodanibio (choreography of the opera Il cielo sulla terra at Stuttgart opera).

In February 2013 he directed an important choreographic installation named les médusés in some of the greatest rooms of the Louvre with the participation of more than 30 artists.

He premiered a new version of Ravel's Bolero co-directed with performance artist Marina Abramovic and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, for the main dancers of the Ballet of the Paris Opera.

Jalet has taught his very specific contemporary dance technique in various companies and institutions such as Pina Bausch Tanztheater (Wuppertal), ImPulsTanz (Vienna), Panetta Movement Center (NY), Centros de las artes (Mexico), Chunky Move (Melbourne), Atelier de Paris and Ménagerie de Verre (Paris), a.o.

In 2014 Damien Jalet created Yama for the Scottish Dance Theater and the solo inked for Kathak dancer Aakash Odedra. One of the projects in 2015 include a collaboration with Hussein Chalayan for Sadler’s Wells London.


        Koen Broos
© Koen Broos