Michael Clark (dancer)

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This article is about the choreographer. For other people of the same name, see Michael Clark (disambiguation).

Michael Duncan Clark CBE (born June 1962) is a Scottish dancer and choreographer.

Early life[edit]

Clark was born in Aberdeen and began traditional Scottish dancing at the age of four. In 1975 he left home to study at the Royal Ballet School 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, who created roles for him in Bell High (1979), Landscape (1980), Rainbow Ripples (1981) and, subsequently, two solos: Soda Lake (1981) and Dutiful Ducks (1982). Later, attending a summer school with Merce Cunningham and John Cage led him to work with Karole Armitage, through whom he met Charles Atlas.[1]

Michael Clark has collaborated with some of the most progressive talents of his generation during his career such as fashion designers BodyMap, performance artist Leigh Bowery and music groups Wire, Laibach and The Fall.


Clark's commissions for major dance companies include the G.R.C.O.P., The Paris Opera, Scottish Ballet, London Festival Ballet, Ballet Rambert, Phoenix Dance Company and the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Clark has also produced considerable work for film and video, including Hail the New Puritan (1984) and Because We Must (1989) with Charles Atlas. He also choreographed and danced the role of Caliban in Peter Greenaway’s Prospero’s Books (1991).

In 1998 he presented a new full-length work, current/SEE, in collaboration with Susan Stenger, Simon Pearson, Big Bottom, and Hussein Chalayan which became the subject of a BBC documentary directed by Sophie Fiennes, The Late Michael Clark. Before and After: The Fall (2001) was Clark’s first major collaboration with the visual artist Sarah Lucas, followed by an evening entitled Would, Should, Can, Did (2003), for the Barbican, London. In the same year Clark created the first Satie Stud for William Trevitt of George Piper Dances, choreographed a solo for Mikhail Baryshnikov, and OH MY GODDESS opened London Dance Umbrella’s 25th anniversary season.[2] In 2004 Rambert Dance Company revived SWAMP (1986), which received the Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production in 2005.[3]

In 2005 Clark embarked on the Stravinsky Project, a three-year project to produce a trilogy of works to seminal dance scores by Igor Stravinsky. He radically reworked Mmm... (1992) and 0 (1994), for this project, and in 2007 he premièred the final part of the trilogy, I Do. Recent works include come, been and gone (2009), and New Work (2012) as well as major commissions for the Tate Modern,[4] Whitney Biennial and London 2012 Festival.

Clark was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to dance.[5]


Year Title Director Role/Credit
1986 Hail the New Puritan Charles Atlas Himself/Choreographer
1989 Because We Must Charles Atlas Himself/Choreographer
1991 Prospero's Books Peter Greenaway Caliban/Choreographer
2001 The Late Michael Clark Sophie Fiennes Himself/Choreographer


Year Association Category Work Result
2005 Olivier Awards Best New Dance Production SWAMP Won
2011 Robert Gordon University Honorary Degree of Doctor of Arts (Hon DArt) n/a n/a
2013 Manchester Theatre Awards Robert Robson Award for Dance New Work (2012) Won[6]
2013 Ludwig Forum for International Art Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation Award for Innovation in the Arts n/a n/a


  1. ^ Martha Bremser (1999). Fifty contemporary choreographers. p 63: Routledge. p. 240. ISBN 0-415-10364-9. 
  2. ^ "Michael Clark Company". LondonDance. 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "Previous Winners: Olivier Winners 2005". Olivier Awards. 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  4. ^ "Michael Clark Company at Tate Modern". Tate. 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  5. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60895. p. b9. 14 June 2014.
  6. ^ Upton, David (7 March 2014). "News: Manchester Theatre Award winners". manchestertheatreawards.com. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 

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