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V&A Dundee: Event celebrates radical Scottish dancer who brought punk to ballet

Michael Clark in Charles Atlas's 'Hail the New Puritan'.
Michael Clark in Charles Atlas's 'Hail the New Puritan'.

DJs, dancers and performers will channel the creative energy of ground-breaking Scottish dancer and choreographer Michael Clark at V&A Dundee’s next Tay Late event.

The after-hours event will be co-curated with legendary Glaswegian fashion designer, illustrator, stylist and radical creative Charles Jeffrey.

Tay Late: Because We Must, will fill V&A Dundee with music, film, performance, conversations and more from 7.30pm to midnight on May 27.

Born in a village outside Aberdeen, Michael Clark has been described as a radical dancer who brought punk to ballet.

He attended his sister’s Scottish dance classes at the age of four and then moved to London to train at the Royal Ballet School. He then abandoned the traditional institution in search of something more radical.

Queer creatives

Inspired by scenes from Charles Atlas’s film ‘Hail the New Puritan’, Charles Jeffrey has assembled a host of queer creatives for Tay Late: Because We Must – a unique one-night-only performance exploring the transformative power of costume and make-up.

Costumed in LOVERBOY archive garments, with looks created using make-up provided by MAC Cosmetics, performers will interact with specially commissioned set pieces created by Furmaan Ahmed.

Michael Clark’s collaboration with The Fall, I Am Curious.

Artist Sgàire Wood has modelled for Charles Jeffrey and is known internationally for her bold baby doll outfits and oversized eye make-up, with videos of her intricate designs attracting millions of views worldwide.

Sounds

Music will come from JungleHussi, Big Gay Ross, and Henri, resident DJ at Turn The Tables, a charity which delivers award-winning creative projects and training to improve mental health resilience, support people to overcome complex situations, and explore DJing as a commercial activity for anyone facing barriers to education and employment.

JungleHussi is resident at La Cheetah and a regular on Glasgow’s Clyde Built Radio, as well as a practising photographer and artist. He has played across the UK and around the world, including warming up for Honey Dijon and Joy Orbison.

Michael Clark in Because We Must, 1987.

Big Gay Ross is a DJ who runs The Salty Dog bar in Dundee. He is a regular in various bars and clubs in Dundee including Klozet and Pout. His diverse, cross-genre sets, and energetic presence have also seen him DJ internationally.

Meanwhile, V&A Dundee’s LGBTQIA+ staff working group will be inviting audiences into the Scottish Design Galleries to hear about the museum’s objects from a different angle. They’ll be unpicking stories of identity and questioning alternative histories, to see the galleries from a queer perspective.

The event takes inspiration from the museum’s current exhibition on Aberdeenshire-born Michael Clark, and celebrates the work of emerging and contemporary designers, DJs, artists and dancers working with the same sense of urgency and rebellious energy.

Turn the Tables.

Clark’s choreography changed the landscape of British dance by weaving together subcultures and post-punk energy with the virtuosity and grace of his classical ballet training.

A technically brilliant dancer and provocative artist, his acclaimed work has challenged society’s expectations of gender and sexuality from the 1980s right up to the present day.

Opportunity

Charles Jeffrey said: “I am so grateful to be given the opportunity to respond to Michael’s work for this event. I feel so connected to his work and all the people that have orbited it. It’s so exciting to be able to do this in Scotland, our shared home country.”

Leigh Bowery and Rachel Auburn in Charles Atlas’s Hail the New Puritan.

Nichol Keene, creative programmer at V&A Dundee, said: “This one-night-only event will be truly memorable, bringing together an eclectic mix of DJs, contemporary performers and others working with the same energy as Michael Clark.

“Charles Jeffrey has helped us pull together an incredible mix of the most bold and exciting performers and creatives in Scotland today, who all share that same spirit of cross-disciplinary experimentation embodied by Michael Clark and LOVERBOY.

“We’ll have talks, tours, and plenty of other things to get involved in, as well as the fantastic Michael Clark exhibition open all night. As the sun sets, performers will appear around the museum costumed in LOVERBOY archive garments. After dark the museum will be filled with DJs and dancing.”

This one-night-only event will be truly memorable, bringing together an eclectic mix of DJs, contemporary performers and others working with the same energy as Michael Clark.”

NICHOL KEENE

Tay Late: Because We Must will bring to life the excitement of V&A Dundee’s current exhibition Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer, exploring the next generation of multidisciplinary creators who share Clark’s pioneering and radical approach to bringing together dance, art, design, fashion, music and more.

The exhibition Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer runs until September 4 and will be open throughout the Tay Late evening.

  • Tickets are on sale now here.

 

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