Barbican, London
The punk perfectionist’s homage to Satie, Patti Smith and Bowie packs in a range of moods from enigmatic mournfulness to stomping, dadaist revolution

Michael Clark has never quite lost his reputation as the wild child of dance. The bare-arsed campery and post-punk music that made him a cult of the 1980s still cling to his image.

But as a choreographer he’s always been a perfectionist, and even at his most superficially deviant it’s always been the small details – the quixotic angling of the head, the strict placing of the feet, the contrapuntal torsion through the body – that have created the backbone of his style.

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Source: Guardian Dance News


Royal Albert Hall; Barbican, London
Carlos Acosta bids a glorious goodbye, while Michael Clark keeps ploughing his weird and wonderful furrow

Last week Carlos Acosta, the greatest male classical dancer of his generation, took his final call on the ballet stage. “Thank you, Carlos!” someone shouted as Acosta stepped forward on Monday night, moved to tears by the standing ovation.

Thank you indeed. Few have done more in recent years to popularise ballet, or to inspire young men to dance, than Acosta. Born into poverty in Havana 43 years ago, he was dispatched to the state-funded Cuban National Ballet School by a father who despaired of his waywardness. His talent was prodigious. Clean, confident leaps, dashing footwork, perfectly weighted turns. But it was the breadth of his dramatic skills that set him apart. A natural stage aristocrat, he took breezy command of any space he entered. Performing Spartacus with the Bolshoi, he awed audiences with the scale and authority of his dancing. This was a leader, a man you’d follow to hell and back. He had a glorious gift for comedy too. To watch Acosta perform Don Quixote or La Fille Mal Gardée, ideally opposite Marianela Nuñez, was to be in ballet heaven. He had his off days, but when he was on, he was unbeatable.

So lustrous was Carlos Acosta’s bearing, it could have been his first performance in the role of Apollo

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Source: Guardian Dance News


From his 80s ballet-punk aesthetic to the heroin and despair of the 90s, Michael Clark always danced to his own tune. Now 54, here he talks about the effects of ageing, his mum and the inspiration of Bowie

We are sitting beneath a huge window in the corner of Michael Clark’s east London rehearsal space, amid exercise balls, yoga mats and discarded trainers, and as the late-summer light fades, our conversation turns to David Bowie, whose music has been a constant throughout the dancer’s life.

“I was so shocked by his death, really shocked,” says Clark, quietly. “I kept thinking of that moment when he put his arm around Mick Ronson [Bowie’s guitarist] on Top of the Pops all those years ago in the 70s and how it triggered this huge sense of relief in me as a boy. It was the only physical contact I had seen men do apart from punching each other. It seems ridiculous now that a small gesture like that could be so meaningful, but, for me, it was. It planted in me the idea that there was another way.”

With Michael, the fragility and the perfectionism go together; you can’t separate one from the other

I have to remember that what is happening is exactly what I wanted to happen… It’s an amazing life I have, really

I miss the old, wild days of squatting, dole money and freedom, but they’re gone … no regrets

Related: Michael Clark Company | Dance review

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Source: Guardian Dance News


The mould-breaking dance company is celebrating its ninth decade. We trace the nimble steps that took it from a raggle-taggle bunch of students to global name

Marie Rambert had no idea she was making history when she and her little dance troupe made their debut at the Lyric Hammersmith 90 years ago. Her raggle-taggle bunch of student dancers faced stiff competition in London that year: Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes were dancing two packed seasons, including the British premiere of Bronislava Nijinska’s monumental Les Noces, a glowing restaging of The Firebird, and the return of two of the company’s star ballerinas, Tamara Karsavina and Lydia Lopokova. Meanwhile, the Cochran revue boasted work by the great Leonid Massine.

Adding to Rambert’s troubles was the prejudice, still strong among the British public, that ballet was a foreign art form: Russian with a dash of Italian and French. A homegrown ballet company could only be an amateur aberration.

An instinct for experiment and survival was deep in Rambert’s DNA

Related: Long-forgotten images of Rambert and the birth of modern dance – in pictures

Under Richard Alston, Rambert shifted towards an abstract, modernist aesthetic, with startling design and new scores

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Source: Guardian Dance News