Posts Tagged ‘Fascinating Grover: Steve Valk’



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By Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @Blogfinger.

Steve Valk (photo above) is a contemporary dance dramaturge, visual artist, designer and currently the director of the first Insitute of Social Choreography in Frankfurt Germany. He is an American who visits his family’s Ocean Grove home every summer. He has done that since his childhood in the 1960’s.

Last year he was consulting with the Martha Graham Ballet Company in New York City

I have met with Steve in the past to tap into his long term perspective and interest regarding  Ocean Grove and what needs to be done to preserve its future. We had our first meeting for this summer today, but it wasn’t predominantly about the Grove.  We will get to that before he leaves.

We got together this morning at Café Volan on Bangs Avenue in Asbury Park. It’s a down-home sort of place where the mood is bohemian and the coffee is excellent. We need a place like that in Ocean Grove.  Steve likes to bike around OG and AP, but then he often wears another hat as he goes into New York to meet celebrities such as the creators of the Sopranos and Northern Exposure, among others. Check on the link below to get up to date.  You can find other posts by using the Blogfinger search box above and type in Steve’s name.

SIDNEY BECHET with the Gershwins’ “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess



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Once again. My compliments on your work. I spent abour 1 1/2 hours last night “catching up”.
Listened to much of the music… from Verdi to Neil Young. It was just great.
Love your photographic work.
The whole blog is just….stupendous.
Thanks so much.
Looking forward to sharing another coffee next summer.
Warmest regards…

Editor’s Note:   Thanks Steve. It’s great to hear from you.   I met Steve last summer and interviewed him on a rainy day at the Barbaric Bean. Here is the Blogfinger article about this fascinating Grover.  —Paul

Steve Valk article

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Steve Valk. Ocean Grove, NJ. August 3, 2013.   By Paul Goldfinger ©

Steve Valk. Ocean Grove, NJ. August 3, 2013. Portrait by Paul Goldfinger ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

There are so many Grovers who make this their part-time home, that we need to consider the “Grover” nickname to include them as well as full timers. Steve Valk’s family has owned a home in the Grove for generations, and he has spent many summers here. As a Cornell student, he would work at the Grand Atlantic Hotel as a waiter or a cashier. This summer he returns to spend the month of August in the Grove with his family and visiting his contacts in the art world.

We met over cappuccinos at the Barbaric Bean where we huddled under the awning to avoid the rain. Steve said that he loved Ocean Grove, and he shared a childhood memory of the “magic” that he perceived when all the cars would vanish on Saturday night resulting in a “total transformation” on Sunday.

Steve’s mother came from Germany, so he has always been fluent in that language. He majored in German studies and film in college and he moved to Berlin after receiving an offer to be an assistant director at the well known Schiller Theatre. He has worked in “culture and the arts (theatre, opera, contemporary dance, et al)” and has been mentored by some major figures in that world including Robert Wilson, a famed avant garde stage director and designer. Steve eventually moved to the Frankfurt Opera to work with William Forsythe, one of the world’s foremost choreographers.

Steve describes himself as a high energy, “brash” person who has participated in all sorts of creative artistic endeavors over the years. Recently he founded the first Institute of Social Choreography with William Forsythe, and others.

He says that “social choreography” is a new concept in which the arts can be more than just entertainment ; instead they can be transformative tools as people confront a complex world and need new ways to implement changes in their lives. The term “choreography” is not merely about dance. It is about mingling art of all types with life and thus to expand the capacity for improving how we live.

In Germany, Steve is currently involved with building a state-of-the art homeless shelter where he will use these concepts to integrate social work with the arts. He is very optimistic; “You can change everything.”

It is obvious from our conversation that he is engaged in new, important, and complicated ways of thinking about our world. He is an innovator who could become internationally famous. You can look at his Facebook page for more information.

Facebook page Institute of Social Choreography

PHILLIP GLASS : Robert Wilson worked with Phillip Glass, and Steve Valk loves Phillip Glass, so here is The Plant-Boy’s Song (From the Witches of Venice)

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