The Festival in the Palatinate Building in Ludwigshafen is once again celebrated this year. Highlights include the play “Sutra” by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and “Omphalos” by Damien Jalet. Both choreographers are among the best that contemporary dance currently has to offer. Damien Jalet was inspired by Mexican traditions for his dance evening “Omphalos”, “Navel of the World”. In Paris, the famous choreographer narrowly escaped the Bataclan assassins in 2015. He has also choreographed for Madonna.
Traveling around the world as a dancer and choreographer
The 43-year-old dancer and choreographer is one of the best artists in contemporary dance and his works tour all over the world. He is interested in other peoples and cultures, deals with myths and rituals. Damien Jalet was inspired by Mexico for “Omphalos” (“Navel of the World”).
“I love to create where I am inspired. Mexico has triggered something for me. I was like a mirror of part of the culture there and that’s why I did it. ”
“Omphalos” by Damien Jalet
Damien Jalet: narrowly escaped the Paris attack in 2015
Damien Jalet is famous. You don’t notice it. Despite his success, he has remained humble. Growing up in Belgium, he was initially interested in theater. That was his first love, he says today. His parents also took him to Maurice Béjart’s performances.
Damien Jalet trusts his body and instinct, he says his most important advisors. In November 2015, his body and instinct saved his life. At that time he was standing on the rue de Charonne in Paris just a few meters from the assassin who was to open fire seconds later and kill many people. Jalet ran for his life as fast as he could. From this experience, which still shapes him today, the work “Through” was created. A touching and incredibly sustained production that tells of death, life and the boundaries in between with haunting images and body language.
With Madonna it was “not that easy” at the beginning
Damien Jalet feels at home all over the world and in every medium. He was just an artistic advisor for Madonna’s “Madame X Tour” and choreographed a pas de deux for Madonna and her daughter Lola.
“It wasn’t easy at the beginning,” recalls Jalet. “It was so important to me when I was a teenager and it had such a big impact back then. It even has to do with the fact that I dance at all. In the beginning it was difficult to see her as a normal colleague. She is so passionate and, as you can imagine, very demanding and difficult to please. But it was a good collaboration and I really enjoyed it. ”
A life without dance? Impossible
Damien Jalet can hardly imagine his life without dance. But should it happen that he would have to do without him, he would already have an idea.
“Sometimes I dream of being a potter in Kyoto and just making wonderful cups and bowls and plates all day. That’s what I’m thinking about. ”