Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's first 'official' choreography was for a national dance competition called 'De Beste Belgische Danssolo'. The contest, initiated by theatremaker Alain Platel to discover hidden dance talents in Belgium, was organized by Victoria, a theatre and performance platform in Ghent. Encouraged by Marie-Louise Wilderijkx, his ballet teacher in Antwerp, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui competes and wins. He gets a trip to New York where he’s enabled to take dance classes at Broadway Dance Center, Alvin Ailey and other dance schools. A dream comes true for this 18 year old who wasn't familiar with contemporary dance. His solo was a 5 minute dance routine on I Wanna Melt With U, a funky pop track from The Artist Formerly Known As Prince and consisted of a mix of vogue, jazz, funk, hiphop, ballet, African dance,… and was the start of Cherkaoui's personal movement language. It was built on his own choices, free of any interference, free of any opinions or schooling. At that time Cherkaoui felt he was putting together what he liked in dance; the jury saw emerge something unique and personal. The contest helped Cherkaoui to discover and enter P.A.R.T.S. (Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker's dance school in Brussels) and made him meet interesting people who helped him on his journey into the contemporary dance world: Michel Uytterhoeven (at that time Meg Stuarts manager at Damaged Goods), Wim Vandekeybus (Ultima Vez) and of course Alain Platel (Les Ballets C de la B).