When enrolling at the National ballet school in Cluj-Napoca (Romania) in 1983, the child of 10 years of age saw a way out from the repressive dictatorship of Ceausescu. After very harsh years during schooling, the communism regime collapses in 1989. Two years after in 1991 he completes his study and in September the same year he tries his chance at the Slovene National Theatre in Maribor. He gets his first engagement and starts his career in Maribor as Slovenia makes its first steps as a newborn country after exiting Yugoslavia.
Here he meets famous Slovene theatre director Tomaž Pandur, with whom he starts to collaborate as a dancer in his avant-garde productions. Noticing his creative potential Pandur asks him to create the choreography for the performance “Babylon”, which premiered in 1996.
After his first choreographic experience, Clug embarks on a new artistic journey and in 1998 he creates his first independent project “Tango”, together with costume designer Leo Kulaš and set designer Marko Japelj, who became his constant creative team. Later in 2008 composer Milko Lazar joins the team in the project “Pret-a-Porter” and they continue to collaborate intensively ever since. In 2003 the newly appointed general director of SNT, Danilo Rošker assign 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 became an international hit and drew the international attention to himself, due to 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 participated in the largest theatre festivals throughout the world performing his choreographies: Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival (USA), The Stars of the with nights festival in Mariinski theatre 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 toured Netherlands, Italy, and the countries of ex-Yugoslavia.
Trough out the years Clug has developed a strong relation with prestigious Stuttgart Ballet and Zurich Ballet where he has created several works and they plan new creations in near future. In recent years he also started a successful collaboration with the Netherlands Dance Theatre where he created several projects for NDT2 and NDT1. He was also invited to create new works for Bolshoi Ballet Moscow, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Vienna State Ballet, National Ballet in Lisbon, Grand Ballets Canadians Montreal, 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, Ukrainian National Ballet Kiev, Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz Munich, Ballett Augsburg, Hessisches Staatsballett Wiesbaden, West Australian Ballet in Perth, Novosibirsk State Ballet and Ballett Dortmund. He 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 distinguished with the highest Slovene prizes in culture, the Award of the Prešeren Foundation in 2005 and the Glazer Charter in 2008. He was nominated in 2017 for the prestigious award Benois de la Danse for the Handman with Nederland’s Dance Theatre 2. This choreography can now be seen as part of the three-part ballet evening "Naharin / Clug / Montero" at the Staatstheater Nürnberg.
Photo © Simen Zupancic
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