Michael Clark Company set to perform a dance show full of surprises

NNF14 - Michael Clark Company - Harry Alexander by Jake Walters.

NNF14 - Michael Clark Company - Harry Alexander by Jake Walters. - Credit: Jake Walters

A spectacle of dance will take to the Norwich Theatre Royal stage on Saturday when members of the Michael Clark Company perform the show animal/vegetable/mineral. Arts correspondent Emma Knights found out more from leading dancer Julie Cunningham.

NNF14 - Michael Clark Company.

NNF14 - Michael Clark Company. - Credit: submitted

'Audiences can expect a varied evening of great music and dancing with lots of surprises!' said Julie Cunningham from the Michael Clark Company which is on Saturday returning to the Norfolk and Norwich Festival for the third time.

The company is presenting the show animal/vegetable/mineral at Norwich Theatre Royal set to a soundtrack which includes music by the Sex Pistols, Relaxed Muscle and Scritti Politti among others.

'I think that Michael is inspired by, and works very closely with, the music he chooses to choreograph to,' said Julie, who has been part of the company for several years.

When asked what was the meaning behind the show's title animal/vegetable/mineral she said it was up to the audience to decide.

'I can only guess, and I think the title can be interpreted by the audience in whatever way they wish. The dance is in three sections and I suppose you could choose animal, vegetable or mineral for each. For example, in the final part we wear zebra striped costumes and dance to a song called 'Beastmaster', so I might call that section 'Animal', but that is a very literal interpretation. I would invite all who see it to decide for themselves.'

Julie, who this year won the National Dance Awards' Dancers Pro Award For Outstanding Modern Performance (Female), described her role in the show as 'being herself.'

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'I don't play a character but am open to exploring different sides of myself in the way and move and interpret the music. I have fun interacting with my fellow dancers on stage and seeing what happens,' she said.

Julie first started working with Michael Clark Company in 2012 and before that trained at London's Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, before dancing for Ballett der Stadt Theater Koblenz, in Germany, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in New York.

'While I was in New York, the Michael Clark Company came to perform at the Lincoln Center Festival,' said Julie.

'I saw a performance of Michael's 'Stravinsky Project' and was really excited and moved by what I saw. A few years later I was lucky enough to work on a project with Michael in New York. After that experience I decided to join Michael and company in London.

'I enjoy working alongside my inspiring and hardworking colleagues in the company, and dancing Michael's work pushes me to become a better dancer and person.'

animal/vegetable/mineral continues Michael Clark's history of close collaboration with contemporary artists, designers and musicians, and includes lighting design from Charles Atlas and costumes by Stevie Stewart.

• Michael Clark Company will be performing animal/vegetable/mineral at Norwich Theatre Royal on Saturday at 7.30pm.

Tickets £5.50-£23. For more information and to book tickets visit www.nnfestival.org.uk or call the box office on 01603 766400.

• The Norfolk and Norwich Festival runs until Sunday.

• For more NNF Festival Focus features click here.

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