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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.
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. In 2004 Rambert Dance Company revived SWAMP (1986), which received the Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production in 2005.
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,Whitney Biennial, the 2012 Cultural Olympiad at Glasgow's Barrowland Ballroom, and The Institute of Contemporary Art (Miami).
Trio C Belongings
|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
12 extemporay, thank yoU
New Puritans (duet)
Parts I - IV (duet)
Do you me? I Did
Le French Revolting
|1985||HAIL the classical
our caca phoney H.our caca phony H.
|1986||Art for Money
Drop Your Pearls and Hog It, Girl
No Fire Escape in Hell
Because We Must
|1988||I Am Curious, Orange|
Because We Must world tour
|2001||fig - 1
Before and After: The Fall
Would, Should, Can, Did
Rattle Your Jewellery
OH MY GODDESS
Look at that picture...
|2005||A Physical Dialogue
Stravinsky Project Part 1: O
|2006||Stravinsky Project Part 2: Mmm...
|2007||Stravinsky Project Part 3: I Do|
|2009||come, been and gone|
|2010||Tate Project: Part I|
The Barrowlands Project
New Work 2012
|2013||animal / vegetable / mineral|
|2016||to a simple, rock 'n' roll . . . song.|
|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|
|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|
|2013||Ludwig Forum for International Art||Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation Award for Innovation in the Arts||n/a||Won|