Heddy Maalem

Heddy Maalem works with the body as a poet works with words—as material. Born in Batna, in the heart of the Aures, Algeria, to an Algerian father and a French mother, Maalem’s early and extensive training in boxing and the Japanese martial art of Aikido continue to influence his choreography which is marked by precision, sparse vocabulary and clarity.

In 1990 he founded his own company, and his early works—Transport phenomena (1991), Corridors (1992) and Trois Vues sur la douce par esse (1994)—set the tone for his work. In 1997, he created Un Petit Moment de faiblesse, a well-received solo and the prologue to Beau Milieu which premiered the same year at the Avignon Festival in the Vif du Sujet section. In 1999, he created K.O. Debout, a piece for seven dancers at the Maison de la Culture in Amiens.

In Black Spring (2000), Heddy Maalem brought together dancers of African origin born in France, as well as dancers from Nigeria and Senegal to deal with the recurring question of identity and perception of the African body. The film version, made in collaboration with filmmaker Benoît Dervaux, was co-produced by Arte France and Heures d’ete Productions as part of a series called DanseDanseDanse. In 2001 at the Festival Danse à Aix, Maalem choreographed Petite Logique des forces, three solos in which the dancers are accompanied by images by the filmmaker Nicolas Klotz. A second collaboration with Dervaux in 2002 resulted in L’Ordre de la bataille. Le Sacre du Printemps followed in 2004. Consciously pursuing a pattern of alternating small pieces with large group works, in 2006 Maalem premiered a series of solos and short pieces, Le Principe de solitude, and Un Champ de forces, a piece for twelve dancers.