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Cultural Olympiad to end in Glasgow

One of Scotland's most famous and controversial dancers and choreographers is to perform a work featuring 50 Glaswegians at the city's Barrowland venue as the grand finale of the £55million Olympics cultural programme.

HIGH POINT: Contemporary dancers from Dance House will assist in the Barrowlands project.
HIGH POINT: Contemporary dancers from Dance House will assist in the Barrowlands project.

Michael Clark is to take over the music venue and return it to its ballroom roots, performing a "large scale, participatory" dance event with his company and 50 non-dancers.

The Aberdeen-born performer will use the ballroom floor for a piece that will have dancers and non-dancers in pairs and in groups, perhaps accompanied with a live band from its famous stage. Clark said it will be the first work he has created in Scotland since working with Scottish Ballet in 1987.

He added: "It will all be about people working and dancing together, about dance as a social function. It will be amazing to be back to a city which seems to be changing all the time."

Clark is one of the greatest dancers to come from Scotland. He was a star at the Royal Ballet School in London in the 1970s and then with Ballet Rambert, before forming his own company in the 1980s and producing acclaimed shows such as I am Curious Orange and No Fire Escape in Hell.

He is known for working with imaginative partners, including fashion designers, artists – such as Leigh Bowery – and bands, including The Fall and Wire.

The Barrowland Project, on September 8 and 9, will conclude the London 2012 Cultural Programme in Scotland – which contains 50 projects, 250 events and about 500,000 participants. It will cost around £14 million, with £4m in funds from Scotland.

Dance House in Glasgow is co-ordinating the recruitment of the 50 dancers and are looking for "non-dancers, people who have never danced before but have the drive to try, or people who have been interested in dance but not taken it further".

Artistic director Ailsa-Mary Gold added: "This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to work with an iconic, world-class choreographer and perform in The Barrowland. We are looking for people from across Greater Glasgow and they can get in touch with us if they are interested."

The cultural programme begins in Scotland on June 21, with children of the Big Noise music project from Raploch, Stirling, with Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela.

Other events include a narrow boat journey from London to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with a group of comics called Tall Tales From the Riverbank.

There will also be a nationwide ringing of bells, masterminded by Turner prize-winning Scottish artist Martin Creed; the Forest Pitch project by artist Craig Coulthard, which will see a football match on a temporary pitch in the Borders; and the Speed of Light event on Edinburgh's Arthur's Seat during the Edinburgh Festival.

Creed's work is called "Work No. 1197: All the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes". He hopes people will ring bells as loudly and quickly as they can at 8am on July 27 to welcome the 205 competing nations on the first day of the Olympic Games.

Ruth Mackenzie, the director of the London 2012 Festival and the Cultural Olympiad, said: "The festival is costing £55m. But for 12 weeks of activity across the UK, that is a bargain – 2500 events, 12,000 artists and 10 million free tickets."

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