Tokyo is a distant city, with a very different lifestyle and culture from the Scottish village in Aberdeenshire where dancer and choreographer Michael Clark has grown: 5643 miles separate the two realities, to be precise. Despite the distance – Clark has traveled a lot during his 55 years, both for personal reasons and above all professional – there is a common thread that connects the history and the origins of Clark to what, one day, without any doubt will become an immense legacy creative. This connection is the most incredible part of his talent, a precious gift to the visual arts – dance.
“The dance is not just about princesses and swans,” says Clark. The scene of Tokyo’s love hotels for The Performers (the second phase of the collaboration between GQ and Gucci, an evolving project that explores what has inspired and influenced the most original creatives in the world), becomes for Clark the way to express his creative spirit rebel.
“I started dancing at the age of four, participating in my sister’s Scottish dance lessons; a surprising thing, since I was very shy and not at all sure “. However, what Clark considered limitations were interpreted by others as great creative potential. Clark got a seat at the Royal Ballet in London. “At that time, they took things very seriously. They even made the plates on our wrists to see how much we would grow up. I’ve never been able to adapt myself to that world, “he admits. “Not so much for the work ethic, but because in the late seventies I was attracted by the punk movement, its energy, but above all by the chaos that surrounded it”.
In the early eighties, Clark wanted to be part of a dance company that embodied his creative tastes. Ballet Rambert, an experimental dance collective from London, gave him the freedom to express himself completely. Shortly thereafter, Clark founded his dance company, Michael Clark Company, and began collaborating with some of Britain’s most bizarre post-punk figures, starting with Leigh Bowery and Mark E Smith of The Fall. His aesthetic has always been unconventional, unconventional and rebellious. “My first contacts with Japan This is made concrete with David Bowie and references to that country of his wardrobe,” recalls Clark, who later, in 1980, would develop a strong bond with Japan while on tour with his mother and Leigh Bowery. “The diversity of Bowie inspired me a lot. The Japanese discover beauty in the strangest things, especially in nature. It is precisely this admiration that fills me with wonder “.
Clark’s mesmerizing energy – both on stage and in life – exists at that point of balance between strength and fragility, power and vulnerability. “I remember reading somewhere I had to dance otherwise they would have killed me,” says Clark. “This is the emotion I experienced as a child. It was my way of surviving, seducing people or confusing them with my dance, in order to survive “. Clark is both a diligent perfectionist, one who would do exercises at the bar throughout the day without stopping, but also a person with an anarchic and convoluted personality.
“I have always been fascinated by what is acceptable and what is not,” he explains. “I establish my rules so I can break them.” His career was marked by moments of great success, but also by drug addiction and financial difficulties; however, it is easy to perceive today how it was not only a great inspiration for many, but also able to express new ways to communicate, through dance, with different people on a global level. Tokyo, for many visitors, is an intimidating, detached environment. A city where normal visual codes almost do not exist. “Japan is the most stunned place I have visited. It is very difficult to communicate; yet the beauty of dance lies in the fact that it is a universal language that everyone can understand. “A further positive element in a life full of contrasts and expressions. The next goal? “I’m still trying to reach stillness. I’m always traveling and I can never stop myself “.