Britain’s Michael Clark Company Makes Northwest Debut With Acclaimed Work Featuring David Bowie Music
WHITE BIRD PRESENTS NORTHWEST DEBUT OF BRITAIN’S MICHAEL CLARK COMPANY WITH CLARK’S ACCLAIMED “COME, BEEN AND GONE,” SET PRIMARILY TO THE MUSIC OF LEGENDARY ROCKER DAVID BOWIE.
When: Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 16-18, 2014, 7:30 pm
Where: Newmark Theatre – 1111 SW Broadway, Portland
1-800-380-3516 (added fees apply).
Sponsors: John C. and Elinor S. McGuire Trust
Media Sponsor: The Oregonian
Special Note: Contains Nudity
“An outrageously gorgeous piece of modern dance.” –The Observer (London)
White Bird is proud to present the Pacific Northwest debut of Great Britain’s Michael Clark Company with his full-evening dance work come, been and gone, featuring the music of legendary rock star David Bowie. Hailed as “British dance’s true iconoclast,” Michael Clark is a defining cultural figure of the UK. His distinctive choreography has been marked by a thrilling mixture of technical rigor and experimentation, intersecting with punk, Dada, pop and rock. The Guardian (UK) has hailed his 6-member company of highly gifted dancers for their “prodigious command and affectless efficiency making them look superhuman.” The Independent (UK) says of come, been and gone, “These dances are full of sharp footwork and bold classical line. It’s the best thing he [Clark] has done in years.” The striking lighting design is by famed video artist Charles Atlas.
In connection with the Michael Clark’s David-Bowie focused work, White Bird is partnering with NW Film Center’s Reel Music Festival on a showing of Velvet Goldmine, Todd Haynes’ film tribute to the glam rock 70’s. Starring Christian Bale, Ewan McGregor and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, the film will be screened Monday, October 13, 7:30pm at Whitsell Auditorium (Portland Art Museum). White Bird Co-Founders Walter Jaffe and Paul King will introduce the film. After Portland, the Michael Clark Company will bring come, been and gone to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, where the first major David Bowie retrospective David Bowie Is from the Victoria and Albert Museum will have its only US stop, September 23, 2014-January 4, 2015. On September 23, the Hollywood Theatre is showing the documentary David Bowie Is, offering a filmed tour of the groundbreaking exhibit.
Michael Clark’s come, been and gone pays homage to 1970’s rock, encapsulated in the music and persona of David Bowie. The opening section, Swamp, set to music by Wire and Bruce Gilbert, acts as an introduction, with three couples moving in a slow, drugged-like trance, evoking the woozy world of a late night rock club. The main second section is set completely to David Bowie songs, all sung by Bowie except for “Mass Production” sung by Iggy Pop, who also wrote the lyrics. Michael Clark’s rigorous yet forceful choreography echoes Bowie’s body language, with the dancers’ movement conjuring up vaudeville, ballet, disco, even Broadway jazz. One section features Bowie on video looming over the dancers with his theatrically commanding persona. The power of Michael Clark’s work derives from the enormous impact Bowie and rock music have had on Clark, revealed through his statement, “Rock is my rock. It has been vital to me at a personal level; it has shaped me as an individual as well as an artist.”
Michael Clark was born in Scotland and trained at the Royal Ballet School in London (1975 -1979). In 1979 he joined Ballet Rambert, working primarily with Richard Alston. Later, attending a summer school with Merce Cunningham and John Cage led him to work with Karole Armitage, through whom he met Charles Atlas. The first concert of his own choreography was in 1982 at London’s Riverside Studios, where he became resident choreographer. By 1984 Clark had made 16 original pieces. Michael Clark and Company was launched in 1984. The company was an immediate success and toured internationally. During this time Clark collaborated with fashion designers Bodymap, artists Leigh Bowery and Trojan, as well as The Fall, Laibach, and Wire. Clark’s commissions for major dance companies include The Paris Opera, Scottish Ballet, London Festival Ballet, Ballet Rambert, and Deutsche Oper Berlin. Clark has 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 2005 Michael Clark became an Artistic Associate of the Barbican Centre, London, and embarked on the Stravinsky Project, a three-year project to produce a trilogy of works to seminal dance scores by Igor Stravinsky. Clark has also undertaken several large-scale projects in non-theatre spaces including museums and galleries. In 2010 the company spent the summer in residence at Tate Modern, London in preparation a new, large-scale performance commission for the Turbine Hall. The production then premiered in June 2011, and in 2012 Michael Clark presented WHO’S ZOO?, a specially commissioned piece for the Whitney Biennial in New York.
Since its founding in 1984, the Michael Clark Company has toured worldwide to perform at leading houses in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia, as well as on its home stage at the Barbican, where it has been a resident company since 2005. Michael Clark Company has also introduced dance to new audiences both by performing at unorthodox venues including the legendary Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow, the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern in London and in the Whitney Biennial 2012 in New York where the company occupied an entire floor for four weeks, and through Clark’s collaborations with leading artists, fashion designers and musicians.
White Bird’s 2014-15 season is supported by the Regional Arts & Culture Council, Work for Art, Meyer Memorial Trust, The Collins Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Oregon Arts Commission, Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) and The Boeing Company.