Originally from Barnsley, Gary Clarke trained at The Electric Theatre Studios and The Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Since graduating, Gary has established himself as an award-winning choreographer who has built a national reputation for creating innovative dance works that has entertained audiences throughout the UK and Europe. His quirky choreography is thought provoking, visually striking and instantly recognisable.
Described by The Dancing Times as ‘a fast maturing choreographer’, Gary has a wealth of choreographic experience in creating site-specific works (in pubs, clubs, graveyards and galleries) as well as full-length productions for stage.
Since 2003, Gary has received regular support and funding from Arts Council England and numerous National Dance Agencies and venues to create an impressive body of work including Parade (2004) Horsemeat (2006), COAL (2009), 2 Men & a Michael (2010), Bagofti (2011) and Menage a Trois (2012) which has received both critical and audience acclaim and has toured extensively both nationally and internationally. His work to date has been featured in a variety of prestigious festivals and seasons including British Dance Edition, Spring Loaded, The Edinburgh Festival, Birmingham International Dance Festival, Exposure: Dance at The Royal Opera House, Leap Festival, Pulse Fringe Festival, Big Dance, Touchwood, Junge Hunde International Theatre Festival, City to City Cabaret, Hull Dance, LABAN Autumn Season, LEAP Festival and Homotopia – Liverpool’s annual celebration of queer arts and culture.
Gary has collaborated with a number of other artists in the creation and development of his work including renowned choreographers Javier De Frutos and Nigel Charnock, acclaimed solo performer Wendy Houstoun, avant-garde cabaret artist The Divine David Hoyle, dramaturg Lou Cope, experimental noise artist Daniel Thomas and one of the world’s most currently celebrated fashion designers Nasir Mazhar.
In 2004 Gary was established as a Yorkshire Dance Partner, became Artist in Residence at NSCD and received the Artist Development Award from Danceworks UK, which was presented to him by iconic British choreographer Michael Clark. In 2009 he became an Associate Artist at Yorkshire Dance under the LIFT programme and was honoured with The Gary Clarke Dance Award from the Department of Creative Media and Entertainment Industries. In 1998 he was the first recipient of the Brian Glover Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Performing Arts and Dance. In 2011, Gary was invited by Royal Command to attend a reception at Buckingham Palace held by Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh Prince Phillip to acknowledge certain organisations and individual’s outstanding contribution to the arts.
During 2012, Gary choreographed a number of large scale productions to commemorate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games including ‘Overworlds & Underworlds’ in collaboration with avant-garde film makers The Quay Brothers, ‘Games Time’, a touring outdoor multimedia spectacular event involving 800 performers produced by DEDA, ‘HOME’ for Birmingham International Dance Festival and ‘The Opening Ceremony’ for the arrival of The Olympic Torch in Leeds. He also choreographed ‘Just 30!’ to celebrate 30 years of Yorkshire Dance and ‘The Yorkshire Flock’ for Big Dance 2012.
In the same year his trademark work ‘2 Men & a Michael’ was selected to be featured as part of Exposure Dance at The Royal Opera House and was performed by comedy dance duo New Art Club. He toured his triple bill (Menage a Trio) to a number of venues around the UK and was selected by Dance4 in Nottingham to take part in Europe in Motion – a European artist exchange programme facilitated by choreographer Jonathan Burrows and visual artist Gerald Nestler featured as part of Brut Imagetanz Festival in Vienna. In 2013, Gary was selected by arts organisation Space 2 to take part in a 3 year artist development project called ‘Lost in Translation’ where he worked in collaboration with visual artists, poets and film makers. Merseyside Dance Initiative (MDI) commissioned Gary to re-work his full length site-specific piece ‘The Deep’ for shop windows around Liverpool and Merseyside.
In 2014, Gary created ‘Petroglyph’, a large-scale dance work at the Nottingham Contemporary Gallery in collaboration with TC Howard as part of Dance4’s Changing Perceptions Project.
Gary is regularly sought out to create work for professional companies, institutions and organisations nationwide including MAP Dance, 12 Degrees North Dance Company, Edge FWD, Anjali Dance Company, Taciturn Dance Company, Surrey Dance Collective, StopGAP Dance Company, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Ascendance REP, Ludus Dance Company, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Scottish School of Contemporary Dance, York St John School of Arts, DanceXchange, Dance4, Dance East, DEDA Producing, Merseyside Dance Initiative, Yorkshire Dance, The Taliesin Arts Centre, The Pink Fringe and Homotopia.
Since 2001, Gary Clarke has created over 50 dance works of varying sizes and scales. Gary is currently an Associate Artist at Yorkshire Dance in Leeds.
Alongside his choreographic work, Gary has also worked as a performer with some of the world’s leading contemporary companies and choreographers including Lea Anderson’s The Cholmondeleys & The Featherstonehaughs, Matthew Bourne’s Adventures in Motion Pictures (AMP), Lloyd Newson’s DV8 Physical Theatre, Liv Lorent’s balletLORENT, Candoco Dance Company / Jerome Bel, Bock & Vincenzi, Retina Dance Company, Nigel Charnock + Company, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Maresa Von Stockert & Tilted Productions, Sadlers Wells & Young Vic Productions, TC Howard, Compagnie Felix Ruckert, Polar Produce Productions, Future Cinema and ACE Dance & Music.
In 2011 and 2012, Gary worked as a movement artist on the Paramount Picture film ‘World War Z’ featuring Hollywood movie star Brad Pitt and directed by award winning director Marc Forster.
His extensive performance experience spans the areas of dance, theatre, film and live art on both large and small scales.
Gary has built up a wealth of experience in delivering both education and outreach and he has gained national recognition for his work as a teacher, mentor, speaker and facilitator.
Gary teaches extensively at many universities, colleges and venues nationwide delivering a wide range of classes and workshops that focus on contemporary dance technique, choreography and creative investigation. He teaches regularly at The Northern School of Contemporary Dance and currently hosts annual apprentice placements for students on The Post Graduate Apprenticeship Scheme.
He is a returning guest teacher at Greenwich Dance Agency (GDA) as part of their Professional Class Programme and has also taught professional class at The Place (London Contemporary Dance School), Dance Base Edinburgh, Yorkshire Dance and British Dance Edition.
Gary currently plays a key role in Dance4’s where he leads the annual auditions as well as numerous workshops and intensives. Centre for Advanced Training Scheme (CAT) In 2013 he was the Artistic Director on the Dance4’s ‘Dance for Camera’ Summer Intensive where he collaborated with photographer and film maker Josh Hawkins. In the same year he was invited to be a guest judge and careers speaker for young people at the National U. Dance and MY Dance Festival held at The Nottingham Playhouse.
Gary has been a Choreographic Mentor and Artistic Advisor to both established and emerging dance artists / companies including Lila Dance, Joseph Mercier (Panic Lab), Jordan Massarella Dance, Kate Jackson Projects, Wayne Sables Projects and Emma Lansley Dance. In 2012, Gary was appointed as Artistic Mentor for The Non Applicable’s Dance Collective under a 6 month Choreographic Mentorship Programme with Hull Dance and Dep ArtsLtd.
In 2013, Gary was responsible for the re-working and re-staging of Nigel Charnock’s ‘XX’ choreographed on Map Dance (University of Chichester Post Graduate Performance Company). In the same year he was invited to speak at the Dance UK ‘Launch’ event which is designed to help recent graduates break into the industry.
Between 2003 – 2005, Gary was a workshop leader at secondary schools and FE colleges nationwide for ‘Cross Channel’ (Choreographed by Lea Anderson) – The set and studied work for the GCSE and A level Dance Syllabus 2003.
Gary has also delivered a number of education and outreach projects in collaboration with BBC 3 and Phoenix Dance Theatre for ‘Frankenstein’s Wedding’ – A large scale, outdoor multi-media live TV event involving 2000 members of the public held live at Kirkstall Abbey – Leeds. The South Bank Centre for ‘Flag’ – A large participation project involving over 170 participants from around the UK for the re-opening of The Royal Festival Hall. Tate Modern for ‘Quicksilver’ – An annual large scale site-specific participation performance project held at the Tate Modern involving over 100 dancers of all ages and abilities and featured as part of The UBS Long Weekend, The Tate Modern 10th Anniversary Celebrations and Big Dance 2010. The Royal Festival Hall for ‘Private View’ – A site specific performance project with selected schools from Oval, Vauxhall and Pimlico and West Yorkshire Playhouse for ‘Get Creative!’ – An annual large-scale intensive creative course for dis-advantaged youths in Yorkshire, cumulating in a live performance at The Assembly Rooms (Opera North).