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Belgian-born Alain Platel creates radical dance theatre works that are hard to classify. In Wolf (2003), fourteen dogs wander the stage. His internationally acclaimed Iets op Bach (1998) is made up of seemingly random events. He often casts children and fairground performers.
Platel started out as an orthopedic therapist, working with children. As a child himself, Platel loved theatre and mime. He studied both, as well as modern dance with Canadian choreographer Virginia Meyers.
Platel says his professional choreographic career began as an “accident”. Calling themselves Les Ballets Contemporaine de la Belgique, Platel and his friends got together in 1984 to perform for small audiences in Platel's loft. A festival director attended one evening and invited them to perform in his festival.
Now called Les Ballets C. de la B., the company is a choreographic collective, with Platel as its driving force. Having first gained recognition for the production Bonjour Madame in 1993, by the time Platel created Iets op Bach, the troupe was famous. All along, Platel has encouraged young and talented choreographers and dancers to join the collective, including Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.
Les Ballets C. de la B. typically features dancers with both classical and contemporary training. Platel's working method is free form. For months, he improvises with his dancers as they move, sing and recite text in an open-ended process. His creations grow out of this material. The method has influenced dancers and choreographers all over the world.
Platel has won several international awards, including the prestigious Prix Nouvelle Réalités Théâtrales in 2001 from the European Union.