Yos Clark, dancer and model, lost his mother to cancer in 2018. In his latest project, he uses dance to speak of the pain that still follows him.
The five-minute dance film The Other Side sees Yos performing alone, creating beautiful lines and shapes, to an ethereal soundtrack interwoven with words of longing and loss. The choreography, inspired “by female choreographers such as Pina Baush, Martha Graham and Crystal Pite”, is incredibly moving.
Yos is seen wearing a beautiful, mid-length flowing red dress, and he tells me that it’s a design of London-based Laura Theiss, who he previously modelled for in London Fashion Week. “Seeing the dress during the creative process of the choreography, there was a connection to me, I knew it was a perfect and essential piece to have to portray this story,” he says. The dress moves elegantly throughout the performance, adding a rippling element to the images produced. However, for Yos, the attraction to the dress was deeper than its aesthetic appeal: ”the material used to make the dress, this shiny thread running through the dress represents flowing blood, the holes created by the knitting represent wounds and scars.”
The dress also allowed Yos to further connect with his mother through the choreography: “It allowed me to embody my mother on one side, and myself on the other side (my feelings).” It fits seamlessly with the images in motion Yos directed, filmed by Peter Michael STUDiiO.
I asked Yos about the overlapping images in the video, which often sees multiple layers of limbs and fabric interwoven. He explained: “the pain that I felt from losing my mother to cervical cancer has been following me for three years now, it comes back every time I think about her or something reminds me of her.” For Yos, the mesh of images allow him to portray the haunting feeling of loss. These feelings are emphasised by the words interlayed with the music: “I hope this transmission finds you soon. As I drift in space I can make out Earth in the distance.”
Yos didn’t originally want to use ‘Transmission for Jehn: Gnossienne No1’ by Tierney Malone and Geoffrey Muller for the music, but was inspired when he heard it during the initial filming. He also didn’t intend to dance, only choreograph. “I wasn’t meant to dance it. I started to create this choreography on a female dancer without going too deep, because it’s still a delicate subject for me to talk about.”
“But at some point, I felt the urge to dive deep, dance it myself and make something proper that people could relate to.” Yos tells me how he also felt a change when he received a photograph of his mother from his partner at Christmas. In this moment, he finally felt he was ready.
Yos’ passion for dance has existed for almost a lifetime. When he was eight years old, Yos was captivated by the dance he saw in the series Un, Dos, Tres. Although he could not afford dance classes, he began to throw himself into the art at the age of seventeen. He watched videos and taught himself, while building up a network of fellow dancers on Facebook. He was spotted by a dance teacher living in France who offered to teach him via Skype. These lessons continued for two years, but sadly had to stop due to network issues.
I asked Yos what it was like to take classes over Zoom. Expectedly, it was difficult. He explained that it was hard for the teacher to truly apply corrections over a call, especially as he had never been instructed in person.
Despite these difficulties, Yos was eventually awarded a scholarship to study dance in the UK and now attends KS Dance in Warrington, Cheshire.
Now, Yos is looking towards the future and has his eye on auditions and personal projects. It’s the latter that he finds truly inspirational: “For me, there’s no better performance than dancing your own story, dancing with your feelings, dancing like an open book so that people can understand your language.”
Yos certainly achieved this in The Other Side. “Losing my mother was the most horrible feeling that I’ve ever felt – I was in so much pain that I could just feel my heart trying to rip my chest apart to just cry on his own. I miss her every single day, I just wish she was still there to see what I’ve become and hear her saying that she is proud of me. I will always love you, Mother.”
Words by Matilda Martin.
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