Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pick of the Week - Michael Clark Dance Company at the Byham

Michael Clark Company. Featured Oxana Panchenko and Clair Thomas. Photo by Jake Walters

Pittsburgh Dance Council will bring the award-winning British dance troupe Michael Clark Company to the Byham Theater, 101 Sixth Street, downtown Pittsburgh at 8 p.m. on Saturday, November 1. The evening’s program will featuress Clark’s choreographic work "come, been and gone." Michael Clark is considered one of Britain’s leading choreographers and the performance will mark the company’s Pittsburgh debut.
    Michael Clark Company’s critically acclaimed production "come, been and gone" premiered in 2009 and was created for the company’s 25th anniversary. The choreography is paired primarily with the music of rock legend David Bowie. The production features original lighting design by long term collaborator, filmmaker and lighting designer Charles Atlas, with costumes by Stevie Stewart and Michael Clark.  The choreography is also influenced by the music of Iggy Pop, Brian Eno and The Velvet Underground.
    The Observer commented, "…an outrageously gorgeous piece of modern dance."  The Daily Telegraph wrote, "…beautifully and inspiringly danced… unmissable."  In this work, Clark’s unique style seamlessly weaves and crosses the worlds of classical ballet, contemporary dance, fashion, music and visual art.
    "Rock is my rock," shared Clark. "It has been vital to me at a personal level; it has shaped me as an individual as well as an artist."
    A video excerpt from "come, been and gone" was included in the smash hit exhibition David Bowie Is, presented at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. This worldwide exhibition can be seen in the United States at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago from September 23, 2014 through January 4, 2015.  For more information, visit
    The first act of come, been and gone features Clark’s work, SWAMP.  SWAMP debuted in 1986 and was choreographed for Rambert Dance Company.  The work was later revived by the company in 2004.
Clark joined Rambert Dance in 1979 when it was known as Ballet Rambert.  SWAMP received the Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production (2005).  The choreography is known for its mix of contemporary and experimental movement, with less rigid classical overtones and a finale section that highlights Clark’s choreographic sense of style, through the use of constant changing partners and group dynamics.
    Michael Clark chose to become a choreographer believing that actions speak louder than words. He creates works that combine his classical integrity with a more complex, contemporary sensibility, embracing virtue and vice, abandon and control, grace and embarrassment. Clark is renowned for his legendary collaborations with bands, fashion designers and visual artists including Wire, Bodymap, Leigh Bowery, Trojan and Sarah Lucas. His works have been commissioned by major dance companies around the world.
    In 2011, Robert Gordon University Aberdeen conferred on Michael Clark an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Arts in recognition of his distinguished career in the field of choreography and dance.  In 2012, Michael Clark presented WHO’S ZOO?, a specially commissioned piece for the Whitney Biennial in New York.  This year, Michael Clark was the recipient of the Robert Robson Award for Dance, presented by the Manchester Theatre Awards; in June and he received a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) award in recognition for his contributions to dance, as part of the Queen’s birthday honors.
    Michael Clark’s "come, been and gone" was commissioned by barbicanbite09 and Dance Umbrella (London), La Biennale di Venezia (Venice) and Dansens Hus (Stockholm) as part of European Network of Performing Arts (ENPARTS). Co-produced by barbicanbite09, Dance Umbrella, Michael Clark Company, Edinburgh International Festival, Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg and Maison des Arts de Créteil. Michael Clark Company is supported by Arts Council England. Support for 2014 US Tour is also provided by the British Council.
    For more information visit, For tickets, which start at $19, phone 412-456-6666.

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