Guest lecture, Steve Valk: BARE LIFE IN REVOLT

Friday, March 20, 2015 - 11:30 to 13:00
Theatre Academy, Auditorio 3

Organised by: Tutke, MA Degree Programme in Choreography and MA Degree Programme in Dance Pedagogy

On Friday March 20th 2015 at 11.30am – 1 pm (Auditorium 3)

BARE LIFE IN REVOLT: Social Choreography in Evolution Towards a Cultural Practice

 Steve Valk was the former Head Dramaturge and creative collaborator for William Forsythe and Ballett Frankfurt (1992-2004) He is currently director of the first Insitute of Social Choreography in Frankfurt. In conjunction with an international gathering being organized in Frankfurt in 2016 entitled FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF THOUGHT: Symposium on Social Choreography, Valk will focus on the final six years of Ballett Frankfurt (1998-2004). Despite the groundbreaking, even paradigm-shifting creative work that seemed to flourish in this era, there is surprisingly little scholarship and a general lack of historical knowledge in the dance and wider performing arts world. Through a "dissident reading" of William Forsythe`s signature work, Valk offers an analysis of what he claims was an "onthological disruption". A point at which a collective body of embodied post-modern knowledge production overflowed its institutional and authorial boundaries and began to self-propagate, prompting unforeseen “ecologies of practice” (Stengers), engendering new “social technologies of belonging”(Massumi). An era where new subjects and new social systems (Badiou) were born... This evental site, Valk maintains, was the birthplace of Social Choreography.



Steve Valk (1962) is a contemporary dance dramaturge, visual artist and designer and the director of the first Insitute of Social Choreography in Frankfurt, Germany.                                         

In 2007 he founded the international dramaturgical and social choreographic design agency „r.i.c.e.“ (radical institute of cybernetic epistemology) with headquarters in Limerick, Ireland, Helsinki Finland and Frankfurt Germany. For twelve years (1992-2004), he was Head Dramaturge and creative collaborator for William Forsythe and Ballett Frankfurt. During this period, his ground-breaking visual dramaturgy informed Forsythe`s seminal choreographic works. From 1998 to 2004, Valk`s dramaturgical practice and focus on trans-disciplinary networking strategies led to the development of a new participatory / situational epistemology for the institution of contemporary dance. The resulting large-scale projects "Schmalclub"  (1999-2002) and "New Meaningful Public Space"  (2003-2004) are now recognized as seminal works in the emerging field of Social Choreography.  

From 2004-2011, Valk, in partnership with choreographer and Artistic Director Michael Klien, became Head Dramaturge and artistic collaborator of Ireland`s Daghdha Dance Company. Through a persistent process of rigorously re-examing the core principles of contemporary cultural practice, Daghdha became one of Europe‘s most progressive arts organizations, “a complex and living ecology, one which conceptually transcended and extended far beyond the boundaries of its formally prescribed institutional structures”. 

In December 2012 – with the support of, and in collaboration with, a longstanding network of local, regional, and international trans-disciplinary theorists, cultural practitioners, civic partners, and friends –  Steve Valk founded the first Institute of Social Choreography in Frankfurt Germany. Currently he is working as a lecturer and seminar leader at the Institute of Media and Cultural Studies at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf. 



In its daily activities, the Institute of Social Choreography specialises in deep dramaturgical research, the development of new cultural formats and collaborative networks, and the practice of social choreography as a set of methods for discovering and manifesting alternative patterns in the ecology of our collective experience. Project partners range from social service organisations of all kinds, religious institutions, schools, foundations... art-,  performance-  and design- universities to creative agencies, the Occupy movement, local and international cultural initiatives, museums, dance departments and government agencies. Its primary aim is to expand, extend, and integrate experiential knowledge, attained in the visual and performing arts, into all aspects of civic and cultural life. The Institute of Social Choreography aims to identify, strengthen and open new political dimensions of aesthetic practice, not through the representation of ideologies, but by creating the conditions for original social relations to arise directly out of choreographic practice. Performative experimentation is its central methodological principle.