Michael Clark: ‘I still make the dance work on my own body first’

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

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