Damien Jalet

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Damien Jalet
Born (1976-08-17) 17 August 1976 (age 43)
Uccle, Belgium
OccupationDancer, choreographer, ethnomusicologist
Years active2000–present
DancesContemporary dance

Damien Jalet (born 17 August 1976) is a Belgo-French freelance choreographer, dancer and performer working internationally. His work is often collaborative, creating intricate bounds between dance and other artistic media such as visual art, fashion, theater and music.

Life and career[edit]

Damien Jalet[1] was born in in Uccle, Belgium. He worked as choreographer and performer for Companies like Ballet C. de la B., Sasha Waltz[2] et Invités, Chunky Move, Eastman, NYDC, Hessiches Staatballet, l’Opéra de Paris, Scottish Dance Theater, Iceland Dance Company and many others.

Damien Jalet began to study theater at the National Institute of the performing art of Brussels, before moving to modern dance and completed his training in New York City.[3]

At the end of the 90s, he worked as dancer in the Ultima Vez Company of the Flemish choreographer Wim Vandekeybus, for the show The Day of Heaven and Hell.

Since 2000 he's been working as the closest and most regular collaborator of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, within Les ballets C. de la B. As a result of this collaboration, Damien Jalet[4] created his own shows, first of all as a dancer, but also on the dramatically aspects, staging and music.[5]

Indeed, he has a high quality training in ethnomusicology thanks to Givanna Marini and Christine Leboutte with whom he has made a detail study of Italian polyphonic musics.

Thanks to Damien Jalet, An important part of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s shows use the plain chant and the polyphonic world singing, contrasting with modern dance.

In 2002 Jalet and Cherkaoui created d’Avant, together with Luc Dunberry and Juan Kruz Diaz de Garaio Esnaola, produced by Sasha Waltz[6] and guests. Jalet and Cherkaoui also signed Babel (Words) that won two Olivier awards in 2011 (Best New Dance Production and Outstanding Achievement in Dance for the set designed by Antony Gormley) and the oward Benois de la danse for best choreography at Bolshoi, Moscow.

Damien Jalet has developed numerous collaborations with high-level artists in different domains, such as theater director Arthur Nauzyciel, choreographers and performers such as Julius Caesar for the A.R.T. in Boston in 2008 (United States), L'Image for the Centenary of Beckett in Dublin in 2006 ( (Germany)), Ordet at the sea museum in Reykjavik in 2008 (Iceland), Jan Karski and The Seagull at the Cour d'Honneur du Palais des Papes at Avignon festival (France), and the first adaptation of Le Musée de la mer from the Marie Darrieussecq's play where he plays the role of Bella (2009 France),

He worked with visual artists Antony Gormley (Babel) and Jim Hodges (show 2011 at Gladstone Gallery NY). He collaborated with musicians Lady and Bird on the choreography of the opera Red Waters (opera in Rouen), 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.

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).

Damien Jalet also regularly works with Icelandic choreographer Erna Ómarsdóttir. Together they created 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. 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 Louvre museum in Paris with the participation of more than 30 artists from different disciplines. In fact, 10 dancers of Eastman company and 13 students of the Royal Conservatory of Anvers participated to this incredible project.

In Mai 2013 he creates in collaboration with Cherkaoui and legendary performance artist Marina Abramovic, a new version of Ravel's Bolero for the Paris Opera Ballet. Costumes were designed by Givenchy's artistic director Riccardo Tisci and the 11 dancer's cast included étoiles Aurélie Dupont , Marie Agnès Gillot and Jérémie Bélingard.[7]

Consequently, 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[8] (Paris), architanz (Tokyo)...

Damien Jalet has been entitled “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the French government in 2013. In 2014, he signed Yama’s[9] choreography, a play written for the Scottish Dance Theater,[10] with the American stage designer Jim Hodges and the original composition made by the Winter Family group. He also imagined the solo “inked” for the Kathak Aakash Ordera's dancer.

Damien Jalet is laureate of Villa Kujoyama in Kyoto 2015, where he developed Vessel, a 6 months work collaboration with the visual artist Kohei Nawa,[11] which premiered in September 2016 at the new Rhom Theater Kyoto.[12] The relationship work of Jalet to existing rituals practiced in volcanic islands such as Bali and Japan is at the center of the 70 minutes documentary The Ferryman by Gilles Delmas, narrated by Marina Abramovic with the artistic participation of Ryuichi Sakamoto.[13]

In 2015, he signed the choreography of “Gravity fatigue”, a show directed by the stylist Hussein Chalayan at the Sadler's wells in London.

Recently, his show Skid (2017) for the Opera's Dance Conpany of Gothenburg in Sweden, presented 17 performers and dancers on a 10 meters scene sloping at 34 degrees during approximately 40 minutes. This surprising stage design is also signed by the famous Jim Hodges.[14]

In 2018, he choreographed the remake Suspiria, an American-Italian horror film directed by Luca Guadagnino, and presented for the first time at the Venice Film Festival. Starring Dakota Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Mia Goth and Tilda Swinton, the film is based on Dario Argento's eponymous film, released in 1977.

Jalet choreographed the short Paul Thomas Anderson 2019 dance film Anima, starring Thom Yorke and featuring music from Yorke's 2019 solo album of the same name.

Main choreographies[edit]

Collaboration with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

Theater and Opera[edit]

  • 2006 : L'Image from Samuel Beckett's play, staging by Arthur Nauzyciel, Dublin, National Theater of Icelande Reykjavik and Festival " Les Grandes Traversées " in Bordeaux (France) in 2007 ;
  • 2006 : Il cielo sulla terra ;
  • 2008 : Julius Caesar ;
  • 2008 : Ordet (The Word), from the text written by Kaj Munk ;
  • 2009 : The Sea Museum, from the text written by Marie Darrieussecq ;
  • 2011 : Jan Karski (mon nom est une fiction), stagging by Arthur Nauzyciel ;
  • 2014: Splendid's of Jean Genet, staging by Arthur Nauzyciel.


  • 2011 : Laurence Olivier awards (United Kingdom) with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui for Babel (words) ;
  • 2011 : Benois de la danse (Russia) with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui pour Babel (words) ;
  • 2013 : Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government ;
  • 2014 : United Humans Award (with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui) ;
  • 2015 : Grimman awards, Iceland. Choreography of the year for Les medusées ;
  • 2017 : Nomination for the Faust awards (Germany) with Thr(o)ugh.


External links[edit]

Authority records :