Flexion. Extension. An anatomy lesson from Michael Clark

>> Update: I went to see Michael Clark Dance Company New Work 2012 again on 27th October.

By Paola Bassanese







Agonist muscle.

Antagonist muscle.

Slow twitch muscle fibres.

Fast twitch muscle fibres.

Isotonic contractions.

Isometric contractions.

 Michael Clark Company performing at The Barbican Theatre. Photo: Alastair Muir
Picture credits: Alastair Muir

The choreography in Michael Clark’s latest show at The Barbican had beauty and brains. It was a vibrant 3D anatomy lesson where each muscle movement was broken down in its component part and yet it was not an academic exercise.

There was an elegant geometry where the vertical plane mirrored the horizontal plane and the dancers on the floor replicated the shapes performed by the dancers standing up.

Some elements of the dance were pure acroyoga exploits with extreme spinal twist and balances.

Still, you could see it was pure Michael Clark: the show had the same fluidity as in the legendary piece that Michael performed for Scritti Politti’s video Wood Beez.

While the first half of the Barbican performance featured music by Scritti Politti, the second half was explosive with a live performance from Jarvis Cocker and Relaxed Muscle. The excitement from Jarvis’ immense stage presence distracted from the complex choreography going on at the back and the blink-and-you-miss-it cameo appearance by Michael Clark himself.

Exhilarating, uplifting, inspiring.

At Barbican Centre until 27th October.