Samir Akika was born in Algiers in 1967 of an Algerian father and French mother. After leaving grammar school in Paris, he went to High School in Miami and fell in love with basketball. In 1987 he returned to France and began to study physics and mathematics but switched to sport. He took a course in contemporary dance and saw a video-recording of Pina Bausch's earlier choroegraphy Le Sacré du Printemps. Fascinated, he decided to become a dancer. In 1993, at the invitation of Malou Airaudo of the Dance Theatre in Wuppertal he began to study dancing at the Folkwang High School in Essen and graduated in 1997. In 1999 he founded his own company in Essen, Les Petits Poissons, and was invited to show his work Geronimo at the German Dance Platform in Hamburg. In May 2001, Pina Bausch nominated him for the promotional program of the Hanseatic Goethe Prize, to enable him to study film-making. In November 2001, during the centenary celebrations for the Folkwang founder, Kurt Jooss, Samir Akika was awarded the Kurt Jooss Prize.