Michael KliŽn, Excavation Site: Martha Graham U.S.A.

Martha Graham Studio Theater

55 Bethune Street, Floor 11
New York, NY 10014

Excavation Site: Martha Graham U.S.A. is co-presented by the New Museum, within the Spring 2016 R&D Season: LEGACY; Martha Graham Dance Company, as part of its 90th season; and Performance Space 122, as part of the COIL 2016 Festival.

In this one-time-only dance event, a multigenerational group of performers from the Martha Graham Dance Company's past, present, and future will excavate their relationships to Graham and the underlying "movement forces" that bind them to one another, to Graham, and to the Company. Organized by Austrian choreographer and artist Michael KliŽn, Excavation Site: Martha Graham U.S.A. bypasses the institutionalized social structures of the Company to uncover new paths of organization and potential between its participants. The work utilizes strategies of social choreography developed in collaboration with dramaturge Steve Valk, who has organized a complementary discursive component that will unfold alongside the performance in adjacent spaces. Audiences will be invited to explore the work for any length of time and will be encouraged to move freely between spaces.


For the past several decades, Michael KliŽn has been engaged in fundamentally deconstructing our civilization's assumptions about choreography, dance, and culture. He set out to redevelop choreography as an autonomous artistic discipline concerned with the workings and governance of patterns, dynamics, and the relations of individuals to one another and to the circumstances of their environment. In response to the urgency of our contemporary ecological situation, this new conception of choreography engages its social potential to pursue sustainable orders of human relations (Social Choreography). Choreography, understood as an Aesthetics of Change, assumes the creative practice of setting relations, or setting the conditions for new relations to emerge. Over the years KliŽn's artistic development has been guided by the ideas of Gregory Bateson, Alain Badiou, Joseph Beuys, William Forsythe, Steve Paxton, Gordon Lawrence, Sophia Lycouris, and numerous close artistic collaborators such as Steve Valk, Jeffrey Gormly, Volkmar Klien, and Nicholas Mortimore, among others.

Steve Valk is a contemporary dance dramaturge, visual artist, designer, lecturer, and a leading figure in the emerging field of Social Choreography. Influenced by his experience as a personal assistant to theater director Robert Wilson (1988Ė90) he joined Ballett Frankfurt as Head Dramaturge and creative collaborator for William Forsythe (1992Ė2004). From 1998 to 2004, his dramaturgical practice and focus on transdisciplinary networking strategies led to the development of a new participatory/situational epistemology for the institution of contemporary dance. From 2004 to 2011, Valk-in partnership with choreographer and Artistic Director Michael KliŽn-served as Head Dramaturge and artistic collaborator at Ireland's Daghdha Dance Company. Since 2012, he has been Director of the newly founded Institute of Social Choreography in Frankfurt, where he currently lives.

Saturday, 16 January, 2016


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