Michael Clark Company's Ultra Hip Triple Bill

Tiffany Pritchard
By Tiffany Pritchard Last edited 51 months ago
Michael Clark Company's Ultra Hip Triple Bill

Michael Clark's Triple Bill at The Barbican. Image taken by Tony Nandi.

If you missed Michael Clark Company’s ultra hip music-dance infused spectacle last year, now's your chance to see it. The iconoclastic choreographer – known not only as Barbican’s Artistic Associate but also for his collaborations with the likes of Tate Modern, New York's Whitney Museum, The Fall and Sarah Lucas – brings his punchy triple bill back to The Barbican, this time with an added installment.

Watching one of Michael Clark's shows is a bit like attending a concert, particularly at the moment when the music is so overpowering, all of your senses blur into one, forcing you to close your eyes in efforts to single out the sound. Something similar happens here; only Clark encourages you to watch, listen and feel, taking in the full spectrum of activity, not just the dance.

Judging by the seamlessly cool audience in attendance, his amalgamation of aesthetics works, providing bursts of visual, audio and movement sequences that form a sensory-filled experience. For dance purists wanting to focus on his simple, yet controlled choreography, it might be a tad groovy in its approach. But for those used to his hard-hitting, over-the-top style, expectations will no doubt be met.

The first section starts slow, showcasing the dancers’ ability to move succinctly to each musical note from 80s synth-pop band Scritti Politti. Visual colours including bright greens and purples backlight the stage giving a hint of mystery and intrigue. Things soon ramp up with blazing reds courtesy of Charles Atlas’s lighting and set design, Stevie Stewart’s electrifying bodysuits the performers brashly wear in mechanical formations and music from New York Dolls and Sex Pistols that pumps into the theatre with an exhilarating force. The last segment carries on in much of the same vein, only now we see Jarvis Cocker shimmying about via a projected video.

Clark is clearly a lover of all things artistic – whether you’re hoping for impressive choreography that overflows with individual style, fashion in the likes of funky, space-like body wear or music that commands your full attention – it’s here, all wrapped up into a foot-stomping, music-blaring one hour and 40 minutes. Having said that, it must be noted: the dancers, while all clearly talented, stumbled in certain sequences and often fell short in their synchronisation, taking away a hint of the show’s magic. Perhaps it was a rusty night. We’ll give Michael Clark the benefit of the doubt.

Michael Clark’s Triple Bill runs until 30 November at 7.45pm each evening. Tickets £16 - £42.  This show was seen on a complimentary ticket.

Last Updated 26 November 2013