When Beyoncé called, ‘Jagged Little Pill’ choreographer left Cambridge for Paris

Beyoncé performed at a Get Out the Vote concert in Cleveland Saturday.
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File
Beyoncé performed at a Get Out the Vote concert in Cleveland Saturday.

When Queen Bey summons you, you cancel your other plans and oblige.

“Jagged Little Pill” choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui did just that, missing a few previews of the American Repertory Theater production in Cambridge to fly to Paris to choreograph a new music video for Beyoncé and Jay-Z.

Talk about being in demand.


The video is for “Apes**t,” a song on the surprise album, “Everything Is Love,” that Beyoncé and Jay-Z released over the weekend on Tidal.

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The album stunned the world for a few reasons, as the couple pulled off yet another successful “Lemonade” moment, dropping nine new songs and the video on Saturday afternoon. Having worked with Beyoncé before, namely for her 2017 Grammy Awards performance, Cherkaoui got the call to come work on the project during the final stages of previews for “Jagged Little Pill,” the new musical based on the smash 1995 album by Alanis Morissette.

The celebrated choreographer — winner of the Olivier Award and Kairos Prize — left Cambridge for Paris on May 10.

Aside from being a surprise to the world, the music video for “Apes**t” is stunning in its own right, as it was filmed inside the Louvre, staged in front of some of the world’s most famous artworks including the “Mona Lisa,” the “Coronation of Napoleon,” and “The Great Sphinx of Tanis,” to name a few.

A Belgian dancer and choreographer, Cherkaoui was discovered as a teenager and has since made over 50 choreographed pieces and worked on the London production of “Hamlet,” featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, and the film “Anna Karenina,” featuring Keira Knightley and Jude Law.


“Jagged Little Pill” began performances at the ART on May 5 and is currently scheduled to run through July 15. Cherkaoui will also be in Becket this summer with his dance company Eastman at Jacob’s Pillow July 11-15.

Sophie Cannon can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @the_grandCannon