Michael Clark Dance Company (4 stars)

Tramway, Glasgow, run ended


Bare breasts and the Sex Pistols - it could only be Michael Clark. Over the past 20 years, Clark has invented his own mini genre; a style of dance that pushes boundaries, dancers’ abilities and audience expectations.

Performed as part of Glasgow’s New Territories festival, Mmm attracted a large crowd of Clark devotees. And while our reward for loyalty was perhaps not as strong as last year (the stunning O), there was still the sense of being in the presence of greatness. Clark’s choreography demands much of his dancers, forcing them into leg stretches and lengthy balances that would have most people in tears. In recognition of the fact that Clark himself can no longer tackle such technically complex work, his contribution was performed with wild, almost comical abandonment.

Music has always played a big part in Clark’s creations, and Mmm was no exception. During the first half we heard Wire and the Sex Pistols, with a little Barbra Streisand thrown in. This was followed by Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring after the interval. Invariably the movement was in contrast to the music - graceful ballet arms performed to heavy rock, or angry, angular moves set against classical strings.

The late Leigh Bowery designed the costumes for the original Mmm production back in 1992, and they’ve stood the test of time. One costume featured nothing but fluffy sleeves to cover the dancers’ modesty, while another saw Clark’s upper body completely engulfed by a toilet. A unique outfit for a unique man.

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