Steve Valk

Crossing Borders | 30 September | 7 - 8.30pm

Negative Knowledge: is dance the art form of the 21st century?
Contemporary dance dramaturge Steve Valk outlines a vision of dance which, having moved beyond the architecture of its stationary historical universe, no longer understands itself as an art form, but as a technology of the self at the edges of modern consciousness. In addition, Valk introduces the emerging field of Social Choreography as a real-world project of transformative aesthetic practice.

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. Performative experimentation is its central methodological principle.


Steve Valk (1962) is a contemporary dance dramaturge, visual artist and designer, and currently the director of the first Institute 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-examining the core principles of contemporary cultural practice, Daghdha became one of Europe‘s most progressive arts organisations, “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 workers, civic partners, and friends – Steve Valk founded the first Institute of Social Choreography in Frankfurt Germany.