GV alum returns to dance program as guest artist


Courtesy / BRIAH DANSE

Allison Bair, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University alumni Charlie Clark returned to the dance program as a guest artist for a week-long residency.

Clark graduated from GVSU in 2015 and has since been part of many dance companies. He is currently working independently, doing guest work at various dance companies.

Clark said most of his time dancing professionally has been spent in ballet companies. 

“I spent a little over three years at the Minnesota Ballet, and then I was at Ballet Tucson and then (COVID-19) happened,” Clark said. “In between (dancing for the companies), I have done guestings all over the country with other ballet companies — some small companies, some modern companies.”

In his time off from dance due to the pandemic, Clark put his MBA to use working at Coldwell Baker Richard Ellis (CBRE), the world’s largest commercial real estate and investment firm as a sales analyst and strategist.

Clark had planned to go to Los Angeles for commercial dance until he met Calin Radulescu, a former adjunct professor at GV.

“(Radulescu) kind of changed my mind about ballet and I fell in love with ballet after that,” Clark said. “After my first year here at GV, I decided that was really the path that I wanted to go and I just fell in love with everything about that and put my mind to it and ran.” 

Clark has been in contact with the GVSU Dance Program’s Carrie Brueck Morris since he graduated. Morris was the one to call Clark and invite him for his guest artist residency.

“It just really worked out with where my life is and was and now me kind of exploring more and more back into dance since COVID,” Clark said. “So it just kind of (worked out perfectly) for me to be able to come back for the first time since I’ve left almost 10 years ago now.”

Clark said he hopes to teach students to be a light in the dance community on top of his usual ballet lessons.

“The professional dance world is a tough place to be emotionally, mentally, physically, all the above,” Clark said. “I just hope they also take away that I am a little bit more lighthearted and that there are people out there that are also light-hearted, as serious as it is and I am, that you can also do it in a much more fun and positive way. It doesn’t have to be the toxic place that it can be and often is.”

Clark said the piece he is choreographing for dance department students doesn’t have a solid story behind it. The piece hints at his background and relationship with ballet as an art form.

“Other than that it’s kind of a lot of just, you know, movement and art for art’s sake,” Clark said. “Coming to GV and the GV dance department really changed the trajectory of my life in all the best ways.