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  • REVIEW | To a Simple, Rock ’n’ Roll . . . song | Michael Clark Company

REVIEW | To a Simple, Rock ’n’ Roll . . . song | Michael Clark Company

Michael Clark’s Company are renowned for their innovatively wild productions inspired by the 1980s cults.

Choreographer Michael Clark emerged as a prodigy at London’s Royal Ballet School, and he uses the slick technique of classical ballet and combines it with extravagant ideas and themes. He breaks the boundaries of dance by combining contrasting styles to create mesmerising pieces.

In his new production “to a simple rock’n’roll … song” he blends the power of classical dance merged with contemporary movement. Opening with a piece inspired by Erik Satie, the beautiful piano score sets the tone for the highly technical and simply transfixing choreography. With the dancers dressed in black and white, it is a lyrically stunning piece. It is intricately clever and showcases the flawless lines of the dancers. The piece flows with the transitions between the ensemble pieces, duets and trios to create an encapsulating performance. As dancers, their symmetry is fluent and their flexibility outshines many dance companies I’ve seen before.


With merely a colour wash screen lighting up the stage, the screen slowly transcends from deep blues to bright yellows, echoing the serenity of the piece. Whilst maintaining a steady pace with the graceful piano score, the music becomes distorted as the piano begins to clash, the movement reflects this by becoming more radical and contorted.

The performance then moves into Land, a stage adaptation of Painting By Numbers by Charles Atlas, a multichannel video installation first shown at Vilma Gold in London, 2010. Set to a score of Patti Smith’s album Horses, the dancers enter the stage dressed in black leather, representing the rock and roll era. Using pulsating movements, the choreography is intense and dynamic. Each sharp hip thrust and bold movement is gallantly audacious. The interjection of tricks and balances in the provocative choreography creates a strong statement.


The final and most anticipated piece of the evening is a tribute to David Bowie, one of Clark’s favourite rock influencers. Remembering the hero, he bows to both his original work in numbers like Blackstar and his most recent releases. Dressed in metallic silver, the dancers stand out against the dark stage and create a striking response to Bowie’s iconic music.

The choreography is enigmatic and captures the invigorating elements of Bowie’s music. A highlight being when a female dancer enters the stage en pointe, stripping the wildness of the piece back to classical core of Clark’s choreography.

Ending fiercely with stomping vibrations and rebellious movement, the sporadic choreography leaves a remarkable impression.

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