is a Scottish dancer and choreographer.
Michael Clark was born in Aberdeen
Aberdeen is Scotland's third most populous city, one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom's 25th most populous city, with an official population estimate of ....
and began traditional Scottish dancing
The term Highland dance or Highland dancing is used today to refer to a style of athletic solo dancing which developed in the Gaelic Highlands of Scotland...
at the age of four. In 1975 he left home to study at the Royal Ballet School
The Royal Ballet School is one of the most famous classical ballet schools in the world and is the associate school of the Royal Ballet, a leading international ballet company based at the Royal Opera House in London...
in London, and on his final day at the school he was presented with the Ursula Moreton Choreographic Award. In 1979 Clark joined Ballet Rambert, working primarily with Richard Alston
Richard Alston may refer to:*Richard Alston *Richard Alston , Australian High Commissioner to the UK and former Australian senator...
, who created roles for him in Bell High
(1980), Rainbow Ripples
(1981) and, subsequently, two solos: Soda Lake
(1981) and Dutiful Ducks
(1982). Later, attending a summer school with Merce Cunningham
Mercier "Merce" Philip Cunningham was an American dancer and choreographer who was at the forefront of the American avant-garde for more than 50 years. Throughout much of his life, Cunningham was considered one of the greatest creative forces in American dance...
and John Cage
John Milton Cage Jr. was an American composer, music theorist, writer, philosopher and artist. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde...
led him to work with Karole Armitage
Karole Armitage is an American dancer and choreographer currently based in New York City. She is Artistic Director of Armitage Gone! Dance, a contemporary ballet company that performs several times annually in New York City as well as touring internationally...
, through whom he met Charles Atlas
Charles Atlas is a video artist and film director who also does lighting and set design.He is a pioneer in developing media-dance, also called dance for camera. Media dance is work that is created directly for the camera. While Atlas’ primary artistic medium is video, he also began to experiment...
The first concert of his own choreography was in 1982 at London’s Riverside Studios
Riverside Studios is a production studio, theatre and independent cinema on the banks of the River Thames in Hammersmith, London, England. It plays host to contemporary and international dramatic and dance performance, film, visual art exhibitions and television production.-History:In 1933, the...
, where he became resident choreographer. By 1984 Clark had made 16 original pieces for himself, his friends, and various small-scale companies.
Dance productions and presentations
Michael Clark and Company
was launched in 1984 with two works: Do You Me? I Did
and New Puritans
. The company was an immediate success and toured internationally with Not H.air
(1984) and our caca phoney H. our caca phoney H.
During this time Clark collaborated with fashion designers Bodymap, artists Leigh Bowery
Leigh Bowery was an Australian performance artist, club promoter, actor, pop star, model and fashion designer, based in London. Bowery is considered one of the more influential figures in the 1980s and 1990s London and New York art and fashion circles influencing a generation of artists and...
and Trojan, as well as The Fall, Laibach
Laibach is a Slovenian avant-garde music group associated with industrial, martial, and neo-classical musical styles. Laibach formed June 1, 1980 in Trbovlje, Slovenia . Laibach represents the music wing of the Neue Slowenische Kunst art collective, of which it was a founding member in 1984...
, and Wire
Wire are an English rock band, formed in London in October 1976 by Colin Newman , Graham Lewis , Bruce Gilbert , and Robert Gotobed...
. He created large-scale works for his company such as No Fire Escape in Hell
(1986), Because We Must
(1987), and I Am Curious Orange
His commissions for major dance companies include Le French Revolting
(1984) for G.R.C.O.P., Angel Food
(1985) for The Paris Opera Ballet
The Paris Opera Ballet is the oldest national ballet company in the world, and many European and international ballet companies can trace their origins to it...
, Hail The Classical
(1985) for Scottish Ballet
Scottish Ballet is the national ballet company of Scotland and one of the four leading ballet companies of the United Kingdom, alongside the Royal Ballet, English National Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet...
, Drop Your Pearls
and Hog It, Girl
(1986) for London Festival Ballet, Swamp
(1986) for Ballet Rambert, Rights
(1989) for Phoenix Dance Company and Bog 3.0
(1992) for the Deutsche Oper Berlin
The Deutsche Oper Berlin is an opera company located in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin, Germany. The resident building is also home to the Berlin State Ballet.-History:...
. Clark has produced considerable work for film and video, including Hail the New Puritan
with Charles Atlas (1984) and Because We Must
(1989). He also choreographed and danced the role of Caliban
Caliban is a character in William Shakespeare's play The Tempest.Caliban may also refer to:* Caliban , a moon of Uranus* Caliban , a metalcore band from Germany* Caliban , an acoustic Celtic folk duo...
in Peter Greenaway
Peter Greenaway, CBE is a British film director. His films are noted for the distinct influence of Renaissance and Baroque painting, and Flemish painting in particular...
’s Prospero’s Books
In 1989 the Anthony d’Offay gallery in London commissioned Clark to create Heterospective
After three years of commissions and solo work he created the original version of Mmm…
(1992) and went on to create O
in 1994. In 1998 he presented a new full-length work, current/SEE
, in collaboration with Susan Stenger, Simon Pearson, Big Bottom, and Hussein Chalayan
Hussein Chalayan MBE is a British/Turkish Cypriot fashion designer who graduated from Central Saint Martins in 1993.- Biography :...
. The development of this work became the subject matter of a BBC documentary directed by Sophie Fiennes
Sophia Victoria Twisleton Wykeham-Fiennes , known as Sophie Fiennes, is an English film director and producer.-Career:Following a foundation course in painting at Chelsea School of Art, Fiennes worked with director Peter Greenaway from 1987–1992. She managed the UK based dance company, The Michael...
, The Late Michael Clark
Before and After: The Fall
(2001) was Clark’s first major collaboration with the visual artist Sarah Lucas
Sarah Lucas is an English artist. She is part of the generation of Young British Artists who emerged during the 1990s...
. In 2003 Clark created the first Satie Stud for William Trevitt of George Piper Dances, produced an evening entitled Would, Should, Can, Did
, for the Barbican Theatre in London, and choreographed a solo for Mikhail Baryshnikov
Mikhail Nikolaevich Baryshnikov is a Soviet and American dancer, choreographer, and actor, often cited alongside Vaslav Nijinsky and Rudolf Nureyev as one of the greatest ballet dancers of the 20th century. After a promising start in the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad, he defected to Canada in 1974...
, Rattle Your Jewellery
. In the same year, OH MY GODDESS
opened London Dance Umbrella
Dance Umbrella is an annual festival of new or contemporary dance held in London each October. Founded in 1978 as a showcase for emerging choreographers, Dance Umbrella now ranks highly among Europe's leading international dance festivals...
’s 25th anniversary season at Sadler’s Wells. In 2004 Rambert Dance Company
Rambert Dance Company, is a leading British dance company. Formed at the start of the 20th century as a classical ballet company, it would exert a great deal of influence on the development of dance in the United Kingdom, and today, as a contemporary dance company, it continues to be one of the...
, which received the Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production in 2005.
In 2005 Michael Clark became an Artistic Associate of the Barbican Centre
The Barbican Centre is the largest performing arts centre in Europe. Located in the City of London, England, the Centre hosts classical and contemporary music concerts, theatre performances, film screenings and art exhibitions. It also houses a library, three restaurants, and a conservatory...
, London, and embarked on the Stravinsky Project, a three-year collaboration to produce a trilogy of works to seminal dance scores by Igor Stravinsky
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky ; 6 April 1971) was a Russian, later naturalized French, and then naturalized American composer, pianist, and conductor....
. He radically reworked O
for this project, and in 2007 he premiered his most recent work, I Do
. The Stravinsky Project had its US premiere at the Lincoln Center, New York, in June 2008.
In 2009, his company toured new work, which premiered at the Venice Biennale
The Venice Biennale is a major contemporary art exhibition that takes place once every two years in Venice, Italy. The Venice Film Festival is part of it. So too is the Venice Biennale of Architecture, which is held in even years...
in June of that year.
In October of 2010, his company performed 'Come, Been and Gone' in Melbourne, Australia. This worked featured dances to the music of vintage David Bowie
David Bowie is an English musician, actor, record producer and arranger. A major figure for over four decades in the world of popular music, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s...
, Lou Reed
Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed is an American rock musician, songwriter, and photographer. He is best known as guitarist, vocalist, and principal songwriter of The Velvet Underground, and for his successful solo career, which has spanned several decades...
and Iggy Pop
Iggy Pop is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. Though considered an innovator of punk rock, Pop's music has encompassed a number of styles over the years, including pop, metal, jazz and blues...
In 2011 he was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Art by Robert Gordon University
Robert Gordon University is located in Aberdeen, Scotland. Building on over 250 years involvement in education, it was granted university status in 1992. Robert Gordon University currently has approximately 16,407 students at its two campuses at Garthdee and the City Centre, studying on over 145...