Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

Today's vision of a mythical piece and a première: a vibrant double bill from one of Europe's great dance companies.

20 to 21 january 2023

The world-renowned Grand Théâtre de Genève established a permanent ballet company of 21 professionals in 1962, and is currently offering two original choreographed pieces per season. The company’s current dance director is the great choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, and his seal of quality permeates the double bill they bring to the Arriaga Theatre, which includes a state première for one of the pieces.

Faun, remains in the collective memory in the «Ballets Russes section» of our cultural awareness, which recalls the original creation of the mythical choreography of Vaslav Nijinsky based on the music of the Prelude to the apres-midi d’un faune by Claude Debussy. A century later, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui performed his Faun at the request of Sadler’s Wells in London. While Nijinsky’s dancers remain relatively two-dimensional, like figurines on a Greek urn, the mythological and animal aspects are expressed much more forcefully in Cherkaoui’s version, in a language of movement that becomes truly three-dimensional. This vibrant work is now performed by the Geneva Ballet.

As for Ukiyo-e, a new work by Cherkaoui, which will have its state première at the Arriaga, and pose the question of how to coexist in a world in continual turmoil. The choreographer was inspired by the Japanese term “images of a floating universe”. Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui suggests thinking of bodies that do not end in fractures and boundaries, but rather exalt them as extensions of our person, similar to the Japanese technique of Kintsugi, which fixes broken china with pure gold joints. Alexander Dodge’s set will feature a series of impossible stairs on which the dancers get lost. These moving labyrinthine structures are meant to imply both ascent and abyss in a progression of levels in which bodies are invited to unite, communicate, and infect one another. The performance will be accompanied on stage by the new compositions for string and piano trio by Szymon Brzóska and the rhythmic, percussive and electronic creations of Alexandre Dai Castaing. These realms brought together in Ukiyo-e, resonate with ballet’s quest for reparation and transcendence.

The team

Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève
Director general: Aviel Cahn
Director de Ballet: Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
Partenaire du Ballet du Grand Théâtre: Indosuez Wealth Management

Choreography: Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
Set and lighting design: Adam Carrée
Costume design: Hussein Chalayan
Music: Claude Debussy
Additional music: Nitin Sawhney

Created in 2009 at Sadler’s Wells – Duration: 16 min.

2 dancers:
2023.01.20: Madeline Wong + Oscar Comesaña Salgueiro
2023.01.21: Madeline Wong + Juan Perez Cardona

(Premiere in Spain)

Choreography: Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
Set design: Alexander Dodge
Costume design: Yuima Nakazato
Lighting: Dominique Drillot
Dramaturgy: Igor Cardellini
Choreographic assistants: Pau Aran Gimeno and Dayan Akhmedgaliev
Rehearsal directors: Manuel Renard and Pascal Marty
Music: Szymon Brzóska and Alexandre Dai Castaing
Chant, Shinobue, Nohkan and Kokyu: Shogo Yoshii
Percussion: Alexandre Dai Castaing et Shogo Yoshii
Electronic music: Alexandre Dai Castaing

World Premiere, November 2022, Grand Théâtre de Genève – Duration: 70 min

Coproduction with la Maison de la Danse, Lyon-Pôle européen de création, la Biennale de la danse de Lyon 2023, Eastman and la Fondazione Romaeuropa Arte e Cultura
Thanks to Kae Tempest and Domino Publishing Company Limited for kind permission to use the text “Hold Your Own”

19 dancers


Day 20 - 19:30h.

Day 21 - 19:00h.


From 21€ to 45€ /with discounts

Friends of Arriaga:
From 25% to 35% DISCOUNT.

Groups, young people, over-65s, unemployed, large families and people with 33%+ disability:

Dance professionals:

Last minute discount (for above-mentioned groups, except Friends of Arriaga):

Last minute discount for Young Friends of Arriaga:

People with disabilities who use wheelchairs:
50% DISCOUNT (in proscenium balcony and one accompanying person)