Stephan Koplowitz is an award winning director/choreographer/media artist known for his work on stage, film and site. His site work aims to alter people’s perspectives of place, site, and scale, all infused with a sense of the human condition and is concerned with the intersection of natural, social and cultural ecologies within urban and natural environments. Since 1984 he has created 87 works and has been awarded 60 commissions. He is the recipient of a 2004 Alpert Award in the Arts (Dance), a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography in addition to a 2000 New York Dance and Performance Award, “Bessie” for “Sustained Achievement” in Choreography. Koplowitz is also the recipient of six National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Fellowships from (1988-97). In 1996, his site-specific work “Genesis Canyon” commissioned by the Dance Umbrella Festival, for the Natural History Museum in London won Time Out Magazine’s Award for “Best Dance Production of 1996”. He is the recipient of two Distinguished Alumni Awards, from Wesleyan University (awarded 1994), where he received his BA in Music Composition and from the University of Utah College of Fine Arts (awarded 2010) where he received his MFA in Choreography.
His choreography and company, Stephan Koplowitz & Company (Kop Art, Inc.) have been produced repeatedly by internationally recognized performing arts venues domestically and abroad. In July 2017 he will premiere with Axis Dance Company (Oakland/SF) a new work at the Yerba Buena Gardens with an original score by Pamela Z. In August of 2017, a multi-media work/site-specific work for the 2017 Bates Dance Festival inspired by the twin cities of Lewiston/Auburn will premiere with an original score by composer/instrumentalist Todd Reynolds. In May, 2018, he will premiere one of his largest site based projects to date, premiering performances throughout the town of Northfield, Minnesota and commissioned by St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges. The work will incorporate hundreds of performers in dance, theater, music and media arts. In 2015 he premiered through La MaMa Umbria International and the Spoleto Open Festival In Sight Out a site-specific work of movement/theater and Play(as) for the 2015 edition of Trolley Dances in San Diego. In 2014 he premiered a major commissioned site-specific promenade event for the re-opening of Sullivant Hall at Ohio State University, entitled “Sullivant Travels” featuring 11 different performances in inter-active media, film, site and arial dance. It was named by Columbus Alive as one of 2014 “best” dance events. In June, 2013, he premiered two new site works commissioned by the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, titled: Stephan Koplowitz: Water Sight, Milwaukee, at the Milwaukee Art Museum and the historic water tower.
Stephan Koplowitz: TaskForce, a site-touring company was inaugurated in 2008 with creative residencies/performances in Idyllwild, CA, Los Angeles, CA (2008), Plymouth, UK (2009) and Houston, Texas (2012). TaskForce has created over 20 site-specific works, collaborating with over 30 different artists in music, theater, visual arts and media. In May, 2012 the water themed TaskForce project, “Natural Acts in Artificial Water” premiered in Houston, Texas presented by Diverseworks Art Center. The work was critically acclaimed as “by far the most significant dance site-specific work in the city’s history” (Nancy Wozny Art+Culture Mag) and was named by the Houston Press’s “Best of Houston” as “best ensemble production” in 2013. Koplowitz, along with architects KBAS, were the winners of a design competition to install a permanent media art installation utilizing camera obscuras at the The Center for New Media in Salt Lake City for 2013.
In May, 2012, he premiered four site-specific works for the 150th anniversary of Gustavus Adlophus College, outside of Minneapolis, MN. In 2012 as part of the La Mama/Umbria Summer Institute, he created three site specific works in the city of Spoleto as part of a choreographic residency. In 2007, he premiered (iseea) a site-specific work for Boston’s Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA), commissioned by Summer Stages Dance and the ICA, it was named one of the top ten dance productions of 2007 by the Boston Globe. In July 2005 he created a video/performance work titled A Walk Between Two Worlds with Hanoi visual artist Dao Anh Khanh that premiered at L’Espace Theater, Hanoi and in 2006 at Dance Theater Workshop, NYC. Revealed (2006) a site-adaptive public art- installation/performance for a room size camera obscura, was installed in Battery Park City, NYC . Revealed was seen by over 5,000 people in addition to installations at MASS MoCA and the Mead Museum, Amherst, both in 2007.
Many of Koplowitz’s site-specific works are one-of-a-kind and considered historically significant. They include the Grand Step Project: Flight produced by Dancing in the Streets, designed for grand staircases in Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn, seen by 16,000 people (2004). In 2001 he was commissioned by the NY Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, to create (In)Formations a site and media work for 40 dancers and twenty sound installations, commemorating the re-opening of the library. In August 1999, Koplowitz premiered Kohler Korper (Coal Bodies), a commission by Choreographisches Zentrum NRW for 50 dancers at the Kokerei coal factory in Essen, Germany. Fenestrations2 (1999), a reprise of his landmark work from 1987, for the windows of Grand Central Terminal, featured on PBS’s national arts show EGG. In 1998, he premiered his second London Dance Umbrella Festival commission, Babel Index for 54 performers and projections at the new British Library.
In 2002, Koplowitz wrote/directed his first short film, Catching the 5:23 (using Grand Central Terminal as the primary location) and it premiered at the 2002 Hamptons International Film Festival. A sequel (Catching the Game) was filmed in 2003 with the cooperation of the NY Mets at Shea Stadium. His short film Chinatown: Watermark was screened at Dance Camera West in 2013 and was selected as part of ScreenDance Miami for January 2017. Koplowitz has had his photographs exhibited as part of the first collection of photo booth art, Photomaton - A Contemporary Survey of Photo booth Art, at the Pyramid Art Center, Rochester, N.Y. November 1987- January 1988. His work was then seen at the Palm Gallery, Brooklyn, 1988, at the La Galleria dell-Occhio, NYC, 1986 and selected for a solo exhibition, Spacial Reconstructions at the Dance Theater Workshop Gallery, NYC, 1986. In 2012, new photography, created in collaboration with media artist Jason Trucco was exhibited at Annie Wharton Los Angeles at the Pacific Design Center, LA. Koplowitz’s 1997, Webbed Feats presents: Bytes of Bryant Park was a ground breaking, site-specific event, which began as a web site. After twelve weeks of being online, with submissions from the web audience to explore aspects of a real world site, Bytes of Bryant Park was performed on September 1997 in NYC, incorporating creative contributions from over 200 people around the world. This creative material became a seven-hour event including dance, poetry, theater, music and improvisation (more info).
After living in New York City for 23 years, Koplowitz, in 2006, was appointed dean of The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts, Los Angeles) and served in that capacity for ten years until 2016. He is a contributor to the first book published on site-specific choreography, Site Dance, published by Florida University Press (2009, paperback 2011). His course, “Creating Site-Specific Dance and Performance Works” launched in September, 2013, was the first dance related course on Coursera and the MOOC platform and it re-launched in September 2014 and September 2015. Over 20,000 people from 150 countries have registered for this course.
To view some of Koplowitz’s site works, go to: http://www.youtube.com/c/stephankoplowitz