(b Antwerp, 10 Mar. 1976)
Belgian-Moroccan dancer, choreographer, and director. He taught himself to dance by watching music videos then taking classes in a variety of styles including ballet, tap, jazz and flamenco. A natural talent, with exceptional flexibility and control, he performed with the Gang Bang Hip Hop crew and on television, before finally embarking on full-time dance training at P.A.R.T.S., the school directed by de Keersmaeker. In 1998 he was invited by Alain Platel to join the collective, Les Ballets C de la B. As well as performing with that company he created for it Rien de Rien (2000) and Foi (2003). His language reflects his eclectic dance background and his works nearly always feature a powerful dramatic or thematic dynamic (sometimes developed in relationship with dramaturge Guy Cools). In 2006 Cherkaoui's own group became based at the Toneelhuis in Antwerp, since when he has created several works including Myth (2007), Origin (2008), and Babel (2010). He has also collaborated with Akram Khan in their loosely autobiographical duet Zero Degrees (mus. Nitin Sawhney, des. Antony Gormley, 2005) and with the monks of the Shaolin Temple in Sutra (mus. Szymon Brzóska, des. Gormley). He has additionally made works for other companies, including In Memoriam (2004) and Mea Culpa (2006) for Les Ballets de Monte Carlo; End (2006) for Cullberg Ballet; The Wood Man (2007) for Royal Danish Ballet; and Loin (mus. Biber, 2008) for Geneva.