‘As A dance I’d like to develop. Some of it is just making the work more exphcrt. One thing I like to spend more time on is getting clarity. Not just the path of the movement, but the rhythm.’

‘I don always make the easiest or most logical chorces,’

Clark continues. ‘Much of that is bom out of the sort of dancer

and artist I am. I’m interested in things I don’t understand. and in

what makes me uncomfortable because I don’t understand them.’

Having survived metaphorical career death in the 19908,

GOOD | Clark’s output since has been sporadic but always welcome. In

2003 the former ‘bad boy’ of British dance (and can this

possibly be the very last time anyone calls him that?) enjoyed

AN one of his most productive years in. well. years. Satie Stud, his

solo for William Trevitt. was one of the high spots of George

Piper Dances’ acclaimed Critic's Choice Would, Should,

(an. Did. staged by his eponymous company at London’s

Barbican Centre last April. was well received by audiences and

critics alike. And along with such ‘name’ American

choreographers as Lucinda Childs and Eliot Feld, Clark made a

solo. called Rattle Your Jewellery. for Sex and the City heanthrob Mikhail Baryshnikov.

The Barbican gig was a useful precursor of Clark’s latest programme of work. an evening of dance billed under the camp moniker ()1: My Goddess. Pref’aced by T Rex and the Human League tracks and. for a finale. the Sex Pistols, the bulk of the performance is set to the music of Erik Satie, the 70s ‘Krautrock’ group CAN and some of the powerful earlier material of PJ Harvey. Anyone who goes along to the show can expect to see up to eight dancers including, however fleetingly, the 41-year-old Clark himself.

Clark’s current crop of dancers includes Tom Sapsford, ex- Royal Ballet. and the Amazonian Kate Coyne. ‘They’ll do things I can’t do any more.’ he says. ‘However the material is arrived at. they have to make it their own.’ Is he tough or tender with them‘.’ ‘They’re quite tough with themselves. They don’t need me to stand over them beating them with a stick. I just need to be specific about what I’m trying to do. The material itself is tough. The Satie [featuring a score played live by four pianists] kind of looks like the inside of a machine stripped down and technically demanding. Not in a conventional, virtuoso sense. but in the level of control and struggle involved.’

His work may be less ‘exposing’ than it used to be, but Clark is still testing dance’s limits. albeit with considerably more maturity. Always self-critical. he can look to the future without forgetting his glorious or notorious past. ‘I was ambitious in terms of what I thought dance as an art form could be. But as a young dancer it’s drilled into you that you’re never good enough. I took that to an extreme. The gap between what I wanted to make and what I was actually making seemed vast. Reconciling that was always hard. I had written off my previous work. It’s only now that I’m able to see how rich it was.’

These days. Clark. says: ‘I want to do my best. Not that I want it to be better than anything I’ve done before. I just want to feel like I’m taking the work to another level.’ He’s disappointed in how the press keep dredging up his past. ‘It surprises me. I get the impression that the work is being perceived as being about the history of me. I’m not aware of doing that. Other people might associate me with a period where they first saw what I was doing. and they themselves might feel some sense of loss. My first reaction is to stop doing interviews.’

He has considered writing an autobiography. ‘I’m not sure I can sit down long enough. It seemed important to me when I’d stopped [making dance] for a period of time. When you’re actually doing something it’s not pressing to be recording it.’

When is Clark at his most creative? ‘When I’m at one of two extremes: when there’s no time. or when there’s all the time in the world. It’s like a prayer. an act of faith, to create anything.

‘A lot of my friends in the visual arts still believe that it’s not possible to do anything new. I wouldn’t get out of bed if I didn’t believe that was possible. At one point I thought it was part of my job to keep the audience awake. Now I trust they’re conscious. I’d like to engage them. and at the same time leave space for their imagination, which I think is probably some sign of progress.’

Oh MyGoddessisatthemeatreRoyal,Glasgow,Thu4 Mar. For full New Territories festival listings, see p.69

19 Feb—4 Mar 2004 THE LIST 13