One of the most active contemporary dance choreographers in Europe today, Stijn Celis was named most promising young choreographer of 2001 by the prestigious Berlin-based magazine Ballet International/Tanz Aktuell. Born in Belgium in 1964, Mr. Celis has also lived in Zaire. Today a choreographer and set designer, he first gained attention as a dancer in such companies as the Royal Ballet of Flanders, Zurich Ballet, Cullberg Ballet, Bern Ballet and Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève. His creative talents first came to light in 1991 during a choreographic workshop with the Grand Théâtre, at the time under the artistic direction of Gradimir Pankov.
Since 1997, Mr. Celis has focused exclusively on choreography and set design. His works have been mounted by the Ballet Gulbenkian, Ballet Mainz, Ballet Wiesbaden, Ballet Nürnberg and Cullberg Ballet. In 2002, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal commissioned him to create Noces, a vibrant treatise on the rites of marriage set to Stravinsky's famous score. In 2003, Les Grands called on his choreographic talents once more for the creation of Cinderella (The Lost Shoe).
From 2004 to 2007, Mr. Celis served as Artistic Director for the Bern Ballet, where his innovative remake of Swan Lake (2006) drew rave reviews from the Zurich daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung. His recent solo for dancer Julie Guibert, presented as part of the Sujet à vif program at the 2007 Festival d'Avignon, was also hailed by the French press.
As a set designer, Mr. Celis has worked with such luminaries as Didy Veldman and Jan Verzweyveld on numerous opera and theatre productions.