Alain Platel trained as a remedial teacher and is a self-taught theatre director. In 1984, with friends and family members, he set up a dance company operating as a collective, the ballets C de la B. Emma (1988), Bonjour Madame (1993), La tristeza complice (1995) and Lets Op Bach (1998) brought them international renown. With the author Arne Sierens, he staged several shows supporting the development of the children’s theatre company Victoria in Ghent. In 2003 he staged Wolf for the Ruhrtriennale, then the choral project Coup de Chœurs for the opening of KVS, which marked the beginning of a close collaboration with Fabrizio Cassol.
In 2006, VSPRS heralded a change of direction, the exuberance of his early shows giving way to greater introspection and nervousness and revealing a world of impulses and aspirations, as well as violence (Nine Finger (2007) with Benjamin Verdonck and Fumiyo Ikeda); this approach then evolved (Pitié ! (2008), Out of Context – For Pina (2010), exploring how to express intense feelings and aspiring to something beyond the individual. In 2010 he staged Gardenia in collaboration with Frank Van Laecke, then in 2012, for the Teatro Real in Madrid, produced C(H)ŒURS, which explored the dangerous beauty of the group and was his most ambitious project ever. The political overtones of his shows such as Tauberbach (2014) and Coup fatal (2014) are rooted in his zest for life and the energy that bursts onto the stage, expressing ways of living and surviving in terrible circumstances. The same instinct for life drove the dancers in their quest for possibie transformation in Nicht schlafen (2016).
In parallel, Alain Platel works on more personal large-scale choreographic projects and has been involved in several films on dance with the British filmmaker Sophie Fiennes (Because I Sing in 2001, Ramallah!Ramallah!Ramallah! in 2005 and VSPRS Show and Tell in 2007) and working alone (Les Ballets de-ci de-là in 2006).