Born in Barnsley, Gary Clarke trained at The Electric Theatre Studios and The Northern School of Contemporary Dance where he graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor of Performing Arts Dance Degree.
Since graduating, Gary has established himself as an award winning contemporary dance artist and choreographer who has built a national reputation for creating innovative theatrical dance works. He has a wealth of experience in creating site-specific works (in pubs, clubs, graveyards and galleries) as well as full-length productions for stage. Described by The Times as ‘Outstanding‘ Gary’s choreography is thought provoking, visually striking and explores themes in popular and political culture.
Between 2004 and 2014, Gary created an impressive body of small scale touring work including: Parade (2004), Horsemeat (2006), 2 Men & a Michael (2010), Bagofti (2011), Menage a Trois (2012) and The Deep (2013) which have received both critical and audience acclaim and have toured extensively both nationally and internationally. The works were featured in a variety of prestigious festivals and seasons including British Dance Edition, Spring Loaded at The Place, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Exposure: Dance at The Royal Opera House, Pulse Fringe Festival, Touchwood, Junge Hunde International Theatre Festival, City to City Cabaret, Hull Dance, LABAN Autumn Season, Liverpool’s LEAP Festival, City Steps Festival, Light Night and Homotopia. Gary worked with renowned choreographers Javier De Frutos, Nigel Charnock, Wendy Houstoun and New Art Club in the creation and development of these works.
In 2016 Gary established Gary Clarke Company with Producer Annabel Dunbar and created his first full length mid-scale touring production COAL which was an immediate success playing to sell out audiences in over 30 venues across the country and Germany. Hailed by critics as ’emotional dynamite’ COAL won a UK Theatre Award for Achievement in Dance, A Critics Circle National Dance Award for Best Independent Company and was nominated for the ETC Knight of Illumination Award for Best Light Design. In 2018, Gary created WASTELAND – sequel to COAL which toured extensively on the mid-scale nationwide to both critical and audience acclaim.
In 2021 Gary was the choreographer and movement director for The National Theatres Public Acts Programme.
Since 2016, Gary has choreographed and directed a number of Opera North’s critically acclaimed touring productions including Hansel and Gretel, Street Scene and The Seven Deadly Sins.
Gary created the launch work Compound for Leeds Dance Partnership working with dancers from Phoenix Dance Theatre, Northern Ballet and The Northern School of Contemporary Dance and was featured as part of Light Night 16.
In 2017, Gary created Into The Light for Hull City of Culture 2017 as part of LGBT 50 and Beethoven for Anjali Dance Company which toured nationally and internationally.
In 2018 Gary Directed and Choreographed The Troth for Akademi which toured extensivly throughout India, premiering at the Jaipur Literature Festival before a UK tour receiving a prestigious Herald Angel Award and The Lustrum Summerhall Award for it’s run at The Edinburgh Festival. He was the Creative Director of This Is An Island for Sky Arts Art 50 Project in collaboration with DanceXchange. He also created Phase Change for Brick Box Bubble Up Festival as part of The Great Exhibition of The North.
In 2012 he was commissioned to choreographed a number of large scale site specific productions to commemorate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games including: Overworlds & Underworlds in collaboration with The Quay Brothers, Games Time produced by DEDA (an outdoor multimedia event involving 800 performers) HOME for Birmingham International Dance Festival, The Opening Ceremony for the arrival of The Olympic Torch in Leeds, Just 30! to celebrate 30 years of Yorkshire Dance and The Yorkshire Flock for Big Dance 2012. In the same year, Gary was selected by Dance4 to take part in a European in Motion Artist Exchange Programme facilitated by Jonathan Burrows and Gerald Nestler featured as part of Brut Imagetanz Festival in Vienna. Gary was also commissioned by Dance4 to create work a new work at Nottingham Contemporary Gallery in collaboration with TC Howard as part of Dance4’s Changing Perceptions Project.
Gary has been commissioned to create work for other artists, organisations, festivals, professional and postgraduate companies including: Akademi, Anjali Dance Company, StopGAP Dance Company, Ascendance REP, Taciturn Dance Company, Ludus Dance Company, Yorkshire Dance, Dance4, Dance Limerick, Leeds Dance Partnership, Surrey Dance Collective, Birmingham International Dance Festival, Homotopia, Brighton’s Pink Fringe, MAP Dance, 12 Degrees North Dance Company, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Big Dance, Space2, Edge FWD, Hannah Ringham and The Divine David Hoyle. He has acted as a Movement Director for theatre companies including Brighton’s People Theatre, Shooting Fish Theatre and Bent Architect Theatre Company. He has created work on 3rd year BA students at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Trinity LABAN, Scottish School of Contemporary Dance, Newcastle University, York St John School of Arts, Edge Hill University and Bedford University. He has created numerous work’s for the UK’s Centre for Advanced Training Scheme’s (CAT) at DanceXchange in Birmingham and and Dance4 in Nottingham. Other youth company commissions include Splinters Youth Dance at Dance East, County Youth Dance at The Talisen Arts Centre, South Yorkshire Youth Dance Company and Ludus Youth Dance Company.
Accolades and Acknowledgements
Gary has received for COAL: A UK Theatre Award for Achievement in Dance and A Critics Circle National Dance Award for Best Independent Company. For The Troth: The Herald Angel Award and The Summerhall Lustrum Award. Gary was the first recipient of the Brian Glover Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Performing Arts and Dance. In 2004 he was established as a Yorkshire Dance Partner, became Artist in Residence at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance 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 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 his outstanding contribution to the arts. In 2017 Gary was made an Honorary Fellow along with Wayne McGregor MBE at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance for his achievements and his contribution to the sector. Gary is currently on the Board of Governors at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance acting as an Independent Governor for the school.
Dancer and Performer
Gary has worked as a performer with some of the UK’s leading dance companies and choreographers. He spent 10 years performing with Lea Anderson’s The Cholmondeleys & The Featherstonehaughs performing in some of the companies most seminal film and stage works including Flesh & Blood, Flag and The Lost Dances of Egon Schiele. In 2005 Gary joined Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures for a world tour of the critically acclaimed all male version of Swan Lake. Other credits include work with Lloyd Newson’s DV8 Physical Theatre, Liv Lorent’s balletLORENT, Candoco Dance Company / Jerome Bel, Bock & Vincenzi, Retina Dance Company, Nigel Charnock + Company, Frauke Redquart and David Rosenberg / Fuel Theatre, 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.
Gary has also worked as a movement artist on a number of large scale feature films including World War Z (featuring Brad Pitt), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (featuring Eddie Redmayne) and The Mummy (featuring Tom Cruise). He is also featured in Maximo Parks hit music video single Brain Cells.
His extensive performance experience spans the areas of dance, theatre, film and live art
Facilitator and Education
Gary has a wealth of experience in delivering both education and outreach work gaining national recognition for his work as a teacher, mentor, speaker and facilitator.
Gary teaches extensively at many universities, venues and conservatories nationwide delivering a wide range of classes and workshops that focus on contemporary dance technique, choreography, creative investigation and mock audition processes. 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) and The Place (London Contemporary Dance School) as part of their Professional Class Programme.
Gary has delivered a number of large scale education and outreach projects in collaboration with: The BBC 3 and Phoenix Dance Theatre for Frankenstein’s Wedding (An outdoor multi-media live TV event involving 2000 members of the public held live at Kirkstall Abbey – Leeds), The South Bank Centre and The Cholmondeleys for Flag (A 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 site-specific 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, 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).
Gary plays a key role in Dance4’s Centre for Advanced Training Scheme (CAT) where he leads annual auditions as well as numerous workshops and intensives. In 2013 and 2018 he was the Artistic Director on the Dance4’s Dance for Camera Summer Intensive where he collaborated with film maker Josh Hawkins. In the same year he was invited to be a guest speaker at the Dance UK ‘Launch’ event and guest judge and careers speaker at the National U. Dance and MY Dance Festival held at Nottingham Playhouse.
Gary has been a Choreographic Mentor and Artistic Advisor for both established and emerging dance artists and companies including Thick & Tight, Hawk Dance Theatre, Ludus Dance, Kiera Martin Dance, Anthony Briggs / Briggs Produces, Lila Dance, Joseph Mercier / Panic Lab, Jordan Massarella Dance, Kate Jackson Projects, Wayne Sables Projects, Gavin Coward and Emma Lansley Dance. In 2012 Gary was appointed as Artistic Mentor for The Non Applicable’s 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).
Between 2003 and 2005 Gary was a workshop leader at secondary schools and FE colleges nationwide for the GCSE and A Level Dance Syllabus set work – ‘Cross Channel’ Choreographed by Lea Anderson.