Damien Jalet is a freelance choreographer and performer from Belgium. Starting in theatre, Damien was originally interested in becoming a director, until he discovered dance.
“What I was looking for in theatre, didn’t have anything to do with words, it was much more about the physical presence and how the body could convey”
After finding dance Damien became obsessed, “it became an overwhelming obsession”. He explained, “it makes you see the world differently”.
Damien went on to work with a range of companies as both a dancer and choreographer including with Marina Abramovic, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui/Eastman, Icelandic Dance Company, Chunky Move, Sasha Waltz and Guests, Les ballets C. de la B, Akram Khan and Scottish Dance Theatre.
Damien’s work frequently explores myths, religions, and rituals and how dance can capture some of these traditions: “the body is the conveyor”.
His work is diverse and has won a number of significant Awards. Babel(words) won two Olivier awards in 2011 for Best New Dance Production and Outstanding Achievement in Dance for the set design of Antony Gormley. Babel (Words) also won a prix Benois de la danse for best choreography at Bolshoi, Moscow.
Damien is well known for his collaborative approach to dance, connecting dance to a range of other artistic disciplines. He has worked with visual artists Antony Gormley, Nawa Kohei, fashion makers Jean-Paul Lespagnard, Hussein Chalayan, Riccardo Tisci and Bernhard Willhelm and with musicians including Loscil, Olof Arnalds and Florence + the Machine.
In this interview, we talk about his collaboration with Japanese visual artist Kohei Nawa. Damien created the work Vessel with Kohei Nawa. Vessel first premiered in 2016 and has been described as a lovely meeting point between dance and sculpture. Vessel will have its Australian Premiere at Perth Festival in March.
A selection of works.
THR(O)UGH, (2015, in collaboration with Jim Hodges)
BABEL (Words) (2016, at the Festival d'Avignon).
Black Marrow (with Erna Omarsdottir for Chunky Move at the Melbourne international festival 2009).
This interview covers a range of topics including collaborations and Damien’s process from making work.
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