Michael Kliën

Propositions to dance differently workshop 19 - 21 February 2016

Excavation Site: Independent Dance, 2016

Dance as an artistic discipline predominately sustains itself upon its institutional arrangements, through the history of the development of certain techniques and abilities to manipulate and master aspects of bodily, physical exertion. This has been at odds with the individual’s direct aesthetic experience of dancing, and in this workshop choreographer Michael Kliën’s will examine notions as well as consequences of ‘the cultured flesh’.

The workshop-element will enable participants to develop a rigorously personal approach to dancing. Kliën’s method enables individuals to anchor their practice firmly inside themselves and/or between each other, as opposed to somewhere external (i.e.: a choreography). It provides dancers with an appropriate context and methodology to cultivate, grow and question their own movement-repertoire and physical ability. In concise, yet understandable language he positions the exercises and experiences in a wider social and ecological context, making them at once urgent and relevant to the current political discourse.

Choreographing in the imagination of your Gods | Public discussion with Michael Kliën

"Or what if he thinks he is an atheist but actually isn’t? What if the God he doesn’t believe in knows he is a believer?” Terry Eagelton

Michael’s work has spanned almost twenty years developing an extended practice and theory of both choreography and dance. In this talk he will unfold current concerns, theories and intuitive conjectures that he considers to be of fundamental relevance to current social and political processes. His perspective on choreography,as an aesthetic of change, engages the workings and governance of patterns, dynamics and ecologies: the choreography of the living. In this talk, referring to his most recent works ‘Parliament’ and ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Excavation Site: Martha Graham', he will attempt to sketch a mental map of his practice and beliefs.


Michael Kliën is an acclaimed choreographer, curator and producer of numerous touring productions, installations and events. In 1994 he co-founded the performance collective Barriedale Operahouse (in operation till 2000) and worked as a choreographer for Ballett Frankfurt, Volksoper Wien etc. From 2003 to 2011 he was Artistic Director/CEO of Daghdha Dance Company, one of Ireland’s premiere dance organisations. His artistic practice encompasses interdisciplinary thinking, critical writing, curatorial projects, and centrally, choreographic works equally at home in the Performing as well as the Fine Arts. Michael Kliën’s choreographies are predominantly dance-based works of art, situated in galleries, museums or on stages. Increasingly, visual art works form part of his choreographic output; yet, other creations may act directly upon the social sphere (Social Choreography). His choreographies for dance are marked by a distinctive artistic practice and the subsequent movement aesthetic. Amongst a considerable body of work, Michael Kliën’s seminal choreographies include Einem for Ballett Frankfurt, Sediments of an Ordinary Mind and Sense and Meaning for Daghdha Dance Company (Limerick) as well as Choreography for Blackboards for Daghdha Dance Company and Hayward Gallery (London), Parliament for Benaki Museum (Athens), Jerusalem for Athens Festival and Slattery’s Lamp of IMMA’s (Irish Museum of Modern Art) permanent collection. www.michaelklien.com