Damien Jalet is an independent Belgian and French choreographer and dancer working internationally. He is interested in the capacity of dance constantly re-inventing itself in conversation with other media such as the visual arts, music, cinema, theatre and fashion. His works are therefore often collaborative.
He worked as a choreographer and dancer for companies such as Ballet C. de la B., Sasha Waltz and Guests, Chunky Move, Eastman, NYDC, Hessiches Staatballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Scottish Dance Theatre, Icelandic Dance Company and many more.
His works as choreographer include: Babel(words) (2016) co-signed with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui with set design by Antony Gormley at the Cour d’Honneur du Palais des Papes in Avignon which won 2 Olivier Awards; Les médusés, a choreographic installation for 30 performers at the Louvre in Paris; Yama for the Scottish Dance Theatre with set design by Jim Hodges; Bolero together with Cherkaoui and Marina Abramovic for the Paris Opera Ballet with costumes by Riccardo Tisci; inked for the British Kathak dancer Aakash Odedra; obsidian pieces for the Icelandic Dance Company in collaboration with Erna Omarsdottir (Icelandic national Performing Art Award Grimman 2015 for the best choreographer).
In October 2015 he choreographed gravity fatigue, conceptualised by fashion designer Hussein Chalayan at Sadler’s Wells in London. thr(o)ugh was created for Hessisches Ballett, where Jalet again collaborated with Jim Hodges, Austrian composer Christian Fennesz and designer Jean-Paul Lespagnard. thr(o)ugh was nominated for the German theater award Der Faust in 2017, and it also received nominations for “Best choreographer” and "Production of the year" in the magazine Tanz Critics' Choice. thr(o)ugh is an important piece for Jalet, as it represents a personal attempt to translate the feelings brought up by the traumatic events he witnessed in rue de Charonne, Paris on 13 November 2015.
He created the ferryman with the director Gilles Delmas, highlighting the relation between his works and existing rituals practiced in Bali and Japan, this film gets the exclusive participation of Marina Abramovic and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. It is presented during the whole Venice Biennale at Palazzo Fortuny starting May 2017.
He directed vessel together with Japanese visual artist Nawa Kohei, a collaboration initiated during a four-month-long residency at Villa Kujoyama (Japanese medics villa in Kyoto). The performance for seven dancers has been presented in many important venues in Japan such as Rhom Theater Kyoto and Naoshima’s Art Site and will be played next march at the Perth international festival in Australia .
He is the 2017 artistic director of the UK National Youth Dance Company, for which he created tarantiseismic premiered at Sadler's Wells. Since 2017 he has been resident artist at the “Theatre national de Bretagne (TNB) directed by Arthur Nauzyciel.
Damien Jalet choreographed consequent sections of the upcoming film Suspiria directed by Luca Guadagnino, starring Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson, Ingrid Caven with an original score by Thom Yorke.
In February 2018, he directed his first opera Pelleas and Melissande, alongside Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, with a set by Marina Abramović at the Antwerp Opera. He also created the work Omphalos for the Mexican National Contemporary Dance Company CEPRODAC.
In 2019, he became “artist in residency” at Théâtre National de Chaillot in Paris. Here he choreographed the entirely danced film Anima, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring Thom Yorke, who also scored the film. It premiered in June at IMAX Theatres, as well as streaming on Netflix. For this work, also nominated “Best Musical Film” at the 2019 Grammy’s awards, he won “Best Choreography” award at the UK Music Video Awards. This same year, he became Madonna’s creative advisor for her first theatrical tour: “Madame X”, for which he choreographed four numbers, including the shows opening number, and the film/live duet between Madonna and her daughter Lourdes for the song Frozen.
In 2020 he directed the runway show of Jun Takahashi’s Undercover at the Cirque d’Hiver in Paris, with a collection inspired Akira Kurosawa‘s “Throne of Blood” film.
In September 2020 he created a piece performed on the proscenium of Palais Garnier, Brise-Lames, together with visual artist JR, pianist Koki Nakano, and dancer Aimilios Arapoglou – Jalet’s artistic partner for all his key projects. Recent projects include Mist for renowned Dutch company NDT1, and Planet (Wanderer) at Theatre de Chaillot Paris (2021), both collaborations with Kohei Nawa.
As a teacher Jalet has also taught his specific technique using centrifugal force in many companies and institutions including Pina Bausch Company, ImPulsTanz Vienna, Atelier de Paris, and Architanz Tokyo.
In 2013 Damien Jalet was named Knight of Arts and Letters by the French government.