Michael Clark

(b. 1962)

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(b Aberdeen, 2 Jun. 1962)

British dancer, choreographer, and company director. He trained in ballet and traditional Scottish dance then studied at the Royal Ballet School with Richard Glasstone (1975–9). In 1979 he joined Ballet Rambert, creating roles in works by Richard Alston, but left in 1981 to work as a freelance dancer with Ian Spink and Karole Armitage. He was resident choreographer at London's Riverside Studios (1983) and founded his own company in 1984. As a dancer he was admired for his startling grace and controlled technique but his early works as a choreographer established his reputation as a flamboyant iconoclast, using camp or obscene visual imagery and assaulting his audience with post-punk rock music. For many years he was branded the ‘enfant terrible’ of British dance, with works like I Am Curious Orange (mus. The Fall, 1988) overturning the precepts of classical dance. In 1989 he and his then lover, the US choreographer Stephen Petronio, appeared together in bed in a London art gallery performing a fifteen-minute duet with an explicit sexual agenda. But Clark's notoriety did not eclipse his considerable talent for making dances. In 1992 his version of Rite of Spring, titled Mmm, or Michael's Modern Masterpiece, with additional music by the Sex Pistols and Sondheim, showed his ability to tackle classic scores while O (1994), set to Stravinsky's Apollo featured the most luminous dance invention of his career. In 1998 he returned to the stage after a long absence with current/SEE, which revealed a fresh interest in the fundamentals of dance composition and in 2005 embarked on the Stravinsky Project, revising and expanding Mmm and O and in 2007 premiering a new setting of Les Noces, titled I Do. In 2009 he premiered Come, Been and Gone (mus. David Bowie, Lou Reed, and others) for his own company. Clark has also created works for several other companies including Paris Opera Ballet (Angel Food, 1985), Scottish Ballet (Hail the Classical, 1985), London Festival Ballet (Drop Your Pearls and Hog it, Girl, 1986), Ballet Rambert (Swamp, mus. Bruce Gilbert, 1986), George Piper Dances (Satie Stud, 2003), and Baryshnikov (Rattle Your Jewellery, 2003, revised version 2004). A list of his other works includes, Hail the New Puritans (1984), No Fire Escape in Hell (1986), and Because We Must (1987). He danced the role of Caliban in Peter Greenaway's film Prospero's Books (1991) and has also collaborated with the film-maker Charles Atlas.

http://www.michaelclarkcompany.com Website for the Michael Clark company

Subjects: Dance.

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