We might think of choreography in terms of ‘rehearsal’; that is, as the working out and working through of utopian, nevertheless ‘real,’ social relations.
Social Choreography permeates the tightly knit fabric of socialization, for other potential realities to be sensed and experienced, and for new relational fields amongst human and non-human to be forged. The practice of Social Choreography deals with the uncovering of underlying social relations and patterns—the choreography of the social—through embodied practices, and always, engages these dynamics for new social choreographies to emerge simultaneously.
Michael Kliën’s choreographic practice has always included research into new cultural forms that embody an extended understanding of choreography and dance. The design of new cultural institution has long been central to this process and marked his artistic direction of Barriedale Operahouse, London (1994–2000), Daghdha Dance Company, Limerick (2003–2011) and R.I.C.E. on Hydra island, Greece (2013–). These new models of cultural and educational institutions distinguish themselves through interdisciplinary thinking, their dedication to high-level discourse, suspension of dominant ideologies of productivity, genuine social openness and interest in the potential of ‘the other.’ Numerous unique educational and social choreographic formats have been the direct result of this enquiry (Daghdha Space slideshow 2005–2010). He was a founding member of the Institute for Social Choreography in Frankfurt (2012).
In 2020 Michael Kliën founded the Laboratory for Social Choreography housed in the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University and supported by FHI, Duke Arts and Duke Dance.