Michael Clark (dancer)

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Michael Duncan Clark CBE (born 29 May 1962[1]) 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.[2]

Michael Clark has collaborated with fashion designers BodyMap, artists Sarah Lucas and Peter Doig, performance artist Leigh Bowery, and musicians Wire, Laibach, The Fall, Jarvis Cocker and Scritti Politti.


Clark's commissions for major dance companies include the G.R.C.O.P. (Groupe de Recherche Chorégraphique de l'Opéra de Paris), 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.[3] In 2004 Rambert Dance Company revived SWAMP (1986), which received the Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production in 2005.[4]

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 premiered the final part of the trilogy, I Do. In 2009 he debuted come, been and gone at the Venice Biennale. Subsequent productions include New Work (2012) (later "animal / vegetable / mineral") and his most recent work "to a simple, rock 'n' roll . . . song." which premiered at the Barbican in London in October 2016. He has created major site-specific commissions for the Tate Modern,[5] Whitney Biennial, the 2012 Cultural Olympiad at Glasgow's Barrowland Ballroom, and The Institute of Contemporary Art (Miami).

Clark was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to dance.[6]


Year Title
1979 Overground

Trio C Belongings

1980 Surface Values
1981 Untitled Duet
1982 Of a feather, FLOCK

A Wish Sandwich


1983 Parts I – IV

1st Orange Segment

The Artless Dodge (I'm in an evil mood tonight, don't you want want me baby? and Sexist Crabs)

12 X U

Mission Accomplished: Tutu Invisible

1984 Flippin' eck oh thweet myth-tery of life

Morag's Wedding

12 extemporay, thank yoU

New Puritans (duet)

Parts I – IV (duet)

Do you me? I Did

New Puritans

Le French Revolting

1985 HAIL the classical

Angel Food

not H.AIR

our caca phoney H.our caca phony H.

1986 Art for Money

Drop Your Pearls and Hog It, Girl


No Fire Escape in Hell

1987 Pure Pre-Scenes

Because We Must

1988 I Am Curious, Orange
1989 Wrong



1990 Solo

Because We Must world tour

1991 Modern Masterpieces
1992 Rite Now


Bog 3.0

1994 O
1998 Yet

~ current/SEE

2001 fig – 1

Before and After: The Fall

2003 Satie Stud

Would, Should, Can, Did

Rattle Your Jewellery


Look at that picture...

2004 nevertheless, caviar


2005 A Physical Dialogue

Stravinsky Project Part 1: O

2006 Stravinsky Project Part 2: Mmm...

Merce's Nurse

2007 Stravinsky Project Part 3: I Do
2009 come, been and gone
2010 Tate Project: Part I
2011 th
2012 WHO'S ZOO?

The Barrowlands Project

New Work 2012

2013 animal / vegetable / mineral
2016 to a simple, rock 'n' roll . . . song.


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[7]
2013 Ludwig Forum for International Art Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation Award for Innovation in the Arts n/a Won


  1. ^ Scotland, Births and Baptisms (Ref: 168/1 1565), Aberdeen Northern District
  2. ^ Martha Bremser (1999). Fifty contemporary choreographers. p 63: Routledge. pp. 240. ISBN 0-415-10364-9.CS1 maint: location (link)
  3. ^ "Michael Clark Company". LondonDance. 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  4. ^ "Previous Winners: Olivier Winners 2005". Olivier Awards. 2014. Archived from the original on 21 January 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  5. ^ "Michael Clark Company at Tate Modern". Tate. 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  6. ^ "No. 60895". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 2014. p. b9.
  7. ^ Upton, David (7 March 2014). "News: Manchester Theatre Award winners". manchestertheatreawards.com. Retrieved 31 August 2014.

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