Michael Carter was born in Sydney, Australia, in 1980. He attended the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne and joined the Australian Ballet after graduating. Between 2000 and 2003 he performed many different roles in the classical and neoclassical repertoire (from Fokine to Balanchine) and in modern choreographies (e.g. by Meryl Tankard and Nacho Duato). He became more and more interested in contemporary dance, and so from 2004 to 2006 he worked with Leigh Warren & Dancers in Adelaide and the Sue Healey Company in Sydney. Smaller ensembles were a better fit for him, as they highlighted each dancer’s individuality better.
Off to Europe
In 2006, to save money for auditions in Europe, Carter went back to Australian Ballet for a time. Then he headed for Spain, where he was hired by Victor Ullate for his company in 2007. Only six months later, he moved to Compañía Nacional de Danza (CND), also in Madrid, led by Nacho Duato. Between 2008 and 2012 he performed not just in Duato’s works but in many pieces by guest choreographers at CND, including Jiří Kylián, William Forsythe and Gentian Doda. He also created new choreographies for the company. During his time in the Spanish capital, Carter met and collaborated with many theatre directors, actors and visual artists, including Cía del Señor Smith, an artists’ collective of which he was a co-founder. Under the title NOW! he developed a series of site-specific improvisation projects for different locations. In addition, he made several short films, acting as his own director, cameraman and cutter. In 2009/2010 he made a series of short YouTube films called Inside CND about the Spanish national dance company. In 2012 Carter and another Australian dancer, Gala Moody, founded OFEN Co-Arts Platform (initially Cie. OFEN), an interdisciplinary platform that still exists and whose co-directors aim to integrate social values, collaboration and performance research with their creative work. The multi-talented Carter has also appeared in feature films, e.g. The Book of Revelation directed by Ana Kokkinos.
Carter’s first time auditioning in Wuppertal was 2012; in 2014 he joined the company on a guest contract, and from 2015 to 2022 he was a full-time employee. He performed in thirteen repertoire pieces by Pina Bausch, ranging from early works like The Rite of Spring and Bluebeard to Palermo Palermo and Masurca Fogo. He also performed in new works created for the company by guest choreographers Dimitris Papaioannou and Tim Etchells. What Carter particularly valued in Pina Bausch’s work was the honest and radical way she addressed society’s ills and told stories about what really moves people. He hopes that some of this is reflected in his own work, now that he is freelance again. His collaboration with the Pina Bausch Foundation on PINA 100 still keeps him connected to Wuppertal.
Text: Norbert Servos
Translation: Rachel McNicholl