Zeughauskino Berlin

The Need to Dance

Flemish-Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui is one of the most successful dance artists of our time. Born in Antwerp in 1976, he grew up as the son of a Muslim Moroccan father and a Catholic Flemish mother. Fascinated by the music videos of Michael Jackson and Madonna, he discovered his love for dance and draws inspiration today from different cultures, languages, and artistic styles.

Petra Lataster-Czisch and Peter Lataster accompany Cherkaoui in his travels throughout Europe and document mainly his work with dancers, alongside excerpts from his choreographies. In voiceover, the choreographer speaks about his roots and his career, sharing in particular his father’s dismissive attitude. Cherkaoui is a man of quiet tones, who conveys his dance approach as gently as he does clearly: “Dance is a form to let my thoughts flow physically.”

For him, it is also a way to break moulds, frameworks, and rules. Strict regulations become an apparent mess, in which structures then nevertheless arise. From rigid steel strips come arches, domes, and finally a sphere, as people unravel themselves out of the mass of twirling bodies. More a character study than a dance film, The Need to Dance offers insight into the artistic work of one of the most unpretentious and versatile choreographers today.

Petra Lataster-Czisch, Peter Lataster

Writer/director Petra Lataster-Czisch (b. 1954, Dessau) and cameraman Peter Lataster (b. 1955, Amsterdam) have formed a filming partnership since 1989. They have made several award winning feature documentaries, shorts and dance films. In 2001 they started a production company, Lataster Films.

In 2012 the IDFA festival honoured Petra and Peter with a retrospective and the Dutch Institute of Sound and Vision released a DVD box with their collected works. The main titles are: The Need to Dance (2014), Awake in a Bad Dream (2013), Jerome Jerome (2011), Not Without You (2010), If We Knew (2007).