to a simple, rock ‘n’ roll ... song Barbican, London EC2 5/5
IN SATIE Studs/Ogives Composite, the first part of to a simple, rock ’n’ roll ... song, the ex-enfant terrible of British dance Michael Clark appears to have arrived at a more serene place in his choreography.
Previously renowned for going loud and wild, here his dancers are embedded in an extraordinarily rigorous physical architecture.
A kind of quietness unfolds, imperious in effect and staggering in its control and strength.
Clark’s new direction pushes minute movement, extensions and arabesques to the limit — he’s created a unique code of expression, a beautiful and quasi-classical deconstruction of movement with motifs of painstaking accuracy.
The dancers move dysrhythmically to the notes of Eric Satie’s tranquil musical score for piano, Ogives 1-4 and Prelude: Fete donnee par des chevaliers normands en l’honneur d’une jeune demoiselle.
Satie Studs comes across as meditation but in the following piece, Patti Smith’s beat-punk track Land is the inspiration for a fast and expressive return to more familiar Clark territory of screwed-up graces and dazzling tragi-pop idolatry.
James Bridge’s presence is commanding in both pieces and in Land Melissa Hetherington bears the imprimatur of the choreographer’s trademark jaw-dropping moments.
In the final offering, my mother, my dog, CLOWNS, to tracks by David Bowie, the dancers blaze like a supernova, culminating in Oxana Panchenko’s astonishing solo during the piano section of Aladdin Sane.