When he enrolled at the National Ballet School in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, in 1983, 10 year-old Edward Clug saw a way out from the repressive dictatorship of Ceausescu. After harsh years at the school, the communist regime collapsed in 1989. Clug completed his education in 1991 and, in September of the same year, tried his chance at the Slovene National Theatre in Maribor. His career began there, in Maribor, as Slovenia took its first steps as a newborn country after exiting Yugoslavia.
In Maribor, Edward Clug met the famous Slovene theatre director Tomaž Pandur, with whom he started collaborating as a dancer in his avant-garde productions. Noticing Clug's creative potential, Pandur asked him to create the choreography forBabylon, which premiered in 1996.
Following the thrill of his first choreographic experience, Clug embarked on a new artistic journey. In 1998, he created his first independent project, Tango, together with costume designer Leo Kulaš and set designer Marko Japelj, who quickly became his go-to creative team. Later, in 2008, composer Milko Lazar joined the team for the project Pret-a-Porter - they have been collaborating intensively ever since.
In 2003, the newly appointed General Director of SNT, Danilo Rošker assigns him as Artistic Director of the ballet and Clug starts to lead the company towards new and distinctive directions. In 2005, he creates Radio & Juliet on the music of Radiohead, which draws international attention to Clug and his specific choreographic style. He starts to collaborate with other ballet companies around the world and equally succeeds in putting the Maribor Ballet ensemble on the international dancing map. The Ballet of the SNG Maribor has participated in the largest theatre festivals throughout the world performing his choreographies: Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival (USA), The Stars of the White Nights festival at the Mariinski theatre in St.Petersburg, Festival of Firsts in Pittsburgh, Arts Festival in Singapore, Biarritz Festival in France, O Boticario di danza in Brazil, Dance Festival in Tel Aviv, Sintra Festival in Portugal, Festival Des Arts de Saint-Sauveur (Canada), Seoul International Dance Festival (Korea), at the Milan Teatro Piccolo, Dance Open Festival in St Petersburg and has toured Netherlands, Italy, and the countries of ex-Yugoslavia.
Throughout the years, Clug has developed a strong bond with the prestigious Stuttgart Ballet and Zurich Ballet where he has created several pieces and is planning new creations. In recent years, he also started a successful collaboration with the Netherlands Dance Theatre where he has created two projects for NDT 2 while this year will mark his debut with the NDT 1 (Nederlands Dans Theatre). He was also invited to create new works for the Royal Ballet of Flanders, National Ballet in Lisbon, Station Zuid Company, Croatian National Ballet in Zagreb, Croatian National Ballet in Rijeka, National Ballet in Bucharest, Aalto Ballett Essen, Bitef Dance Company Belgrade, Graz Tanz, Ukranian National Ballet Kiev, StaatsBallett am Gartner Platz Munich, Augsburg Ballet, Hessisches StaatsBallett Wiesbaden, West Australian Ballet in Perth, Novosibirsk State Ballet and Dortmund Ballet.
Clug has received several national and international awards for his work and was nominated for the Golden Mask award in 2010 for the project Quattro. He was decorated with the highest Slovene prizes in culture, the Award of the Prešern Foundation in 2005 and the Glazer Charter in 2008. He was nominated this year for the prestigious award Benois de la Danse for Sacre for the Handman with the Nederlands Dans Theatre 2.
Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater represents one of many musical “depictions” of Holy Mary’s suffering by the cross during the crucifixion of her son Jesus. The composition itself reflects the author’s personal experience and attitude towards this particular biblical episode.
While I was listening to Pergolesi’s music, and later on, during my choreographic exploration, I was instantaneously overwhelmed by its purity, simplicity, and at some points, even joyful exclamations, which most certainly do not reflect the pain, but rather its imminent “consequence”: hope.
The hope that is imbued in Pergolesi’s music is, in comparison to the pain and the anguish of the Mother, the most compelling momentum that has given me a unique opportunity to rethink the relation between this specific biblical “topography”, and my own understanding and interpretation of Pergolesi’s masterpiece.
Undoubtedly, the choreography has a strong allegorical reference with regards to traditional biblical imagery. Nevertheless, the ironic context of everyday life transforms these depictions into a new kind of intimacy and timelessness of the dance, which reflects our personal understanding of the mother-son relationship.
''The work creates an atmosphere that is rarely seen and experienced. The author celebrates life and addresses all iof its dimensions, which fit into each other without imposing a particular topic. His outlook is ironic, but always serious and dedicated to life’s vibrant and tiny magical tricks. Thank you, Edward Clug!"
—Susanne Ernst, Theatre To Go