Stij Celis grew up in Zaire, moved to Belgium in 1972 and then trained as a dancer at the Royal Ballet Flanders in Antwerp. Today he lives in the French part of Switzerland. The first time he was a guest of The Göteborg Opera was in 2009, with the creation Your Passion is Pure Joy to Me. In 1982, he was employed by the Royal Ballet Flanders, four years later moving to the Zurich Ballet, then to the Zurich Modern Dance Company and, from 1992, the Ballet de Grand Theatre de Genève, where he also initiated his career as a choreographer. In 1997, Mats Ek invited him to choreograph a dance for the Holland Festival. In 1996-1997, he was a member of the Cullberg Ballet as a dancer, and he also created the dances Ubiloz Vanila and Fox. When he retired from dancing at the age of 32, he returned to Antwerp where he studied stage design at the University College Department of Dramatic Arts, after which he worked as assistant to several famous stage designers. At the same time, commissions came in for choreography for a number of famous companies, such as Ballet Gulbenkian (Lisbon), Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, the Cullberg Ballet, NDT II, the Nuremberg State Theatre Ballet, the Bern Ballet. In 2004-2007 he was Artistic Director of Ballet at Stadttheater Bern in Switzerland where he created several major ballets such as the Rite of Spring for Two Pianos, and won particular acclaim for his versions of Swan Lake and Liaisons Dangereuses. In 2006, he was named the Most Promising Choreographer of the Year by specialist magazine Tanz International. Stijn Celis also receives commissions for opera productions – for example, he has choreographed Eugene Onegin at the La Monnaie Opera in Brussels. In 2010, he created the ballet Undine for Opera House Aalto-teater in Essen with music by H-W Henze. In 2011, he created Looming Sky for GöteborgsOperans Danskompani (former known as The Göteborg Ballet). In 2011/2012 he also created pieces for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and Ballets Junior Genève, and in 2012/2013 he will work with The Royal Swedish Ballet, Semper Opera Ballet and Luzern Ballet.