Under the direction of internationally known and veteran director and choreographer Stephan Koplowitz, more than 150 Gustavus Adolphus College students and alumni will perform Our Place, In Place, a series of four site and theme-specific performances created in honor of the College’s Sesquicentennial, Wednesday, May 2 and Saturday, May 5.
Koplowitz’s site-specific works, having been performed across the United and States and abroad are known for their sensitivity to architecture, public space and social history. His site-specific work is often one-of-a-kind, precedent setting and considered historic. Our Place, In Place keeps with this approach: this work is potentially the largest dance event ever to be performed at Gustavus, utilizing over 30 dance and theater performers, and collaborations with the Choir of Christ Chapel and Gustavus Choir, as well as the Govenaires Drum and Bugle Corps. Through movement, theater, media, and sound, Our Place, In Place reveals the intersection of natural, social, and cultural ecologies of the four carefully selected Gustavus sites: the Charles S. Jackson Campus Center, Eckman Mall, Beck Academic Hall, and Christ Chapel.
Students rehearse the piece that will be performed at Christ Chapel.
The performances in Our Place, In Place are the culmination of four separate artistic residencies for Koplowitz at Gustavus, dating back to May 2011. Koplowitz, with assistance from Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance Jeffrey Peterson, conducted significant research into the College’s five core values (Excellence, Community, Justice, Service and Faith), by conducting more than 20 interviews and meetings with current and former faculty and staff. Koplowitz translates this foundation, via two separate collaborative rehearsal periods with dancers, actors, and musicians, into the performances of Our Place, In Place. A Sesquicentennial Mini-Grant, an on-campus grant established to generate a diverse approach to celebrating the 150th anniversary of Gustavus Adolphus College, supports this process and the production.
All of the following performances are free and open to the public and will be performed on both May 2 and 5:
12 p.m. – Charles C. Jackson Campus Center (indoors): Theatrical performances by students and alumni, inspired by and performed with Adirondack chairs, with original texts written by students from Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance Cory Hinkle’s playwriting course.
6 p.m. – Eckman Mall (outdoors): 20 student and alumni dancers and 20 Adirondack chairs stretched in a 300-foot straight line, with live music by the World Champion Govenaires Drum and Bugle Corps of St. Peter.
9 p.m. – Torrey Atrium, Beck Hall (indoors): A movement, image, and sound installation for 24 student and alumni dancers, featuring oversized video projections by Dan Coquyt ‘14, and the 128 voices of the combined Gustavus Choir and Choir of Christ Chapel.
10 p.m. – Christ Chapel (in/outdoors): A site-specific performance for 12 student and alumni dancers in the windows of Christ Chapel, with original music by Gustavus Cantor Chad Fothergill ’06 and lighting design by Kiki Mead ’11.
Rehearsal direction for Our Place, In Place was performed by Jeffrey Peterson, lighting design and technical direction by Kiki Mead ’11, and costume design by Kristen Weller ’10. Core company dancers include Katherine Arndt ’13, Rush Benson ’13, Jane Chung ’13, Renee Guittar ’12, Kelsey Hanstad ’14, Rachel Johnson ’13, Hollie Luckow ’13, Alyssa McGinty ’12, Ashley Narum ’12, Sophia Ogren-Dehn ’13, and Erin Simon ’12.
Stephan Koplowitz biography
Stephan Koplowitz is an award winning director/choreographer/media artist known for his work on stage, film and creating original site-specific multi-media works for architecturally significant sites. His site work aims to alter people’s perspectives of place, site, and scale, all infused with a sense of the human condition. Since 1984 he has created 62 works and has been awarded 42 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).
His dance company was produced and commissioned for eight seasons at NYC’s Dance Theater Workshop from 1987 to 2006. His work has been produced by Dancing in the Streets, the American Dance Festival, Lincoln Center, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the Bates Dance Festival, London’s Dance Umbrella Festival, Choreographic Center, Essen, Germany, Dance Place of Washington D.C., and many other venues. In 2007, he created iseea, a site-specific work for Boston’s new 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. As a 25 year veteran of making site-specific choreography, he was invited to contribute a chapter for the first book published on site-specific choreography, Site Dance, published by Florida University Press (2009, now in paperback).
In 2008 he inaugurated a site touring dance company, Stephan Koplowitz: TaskForce, with creative residencies and performances in Idyllwild, CA, Los Angeles (2008) and Plymouth, UK (2009). Revealed, a site-adaptive public art installation/performance involving room size camera obscuras, was installed in Battery Park City (2007), then toured to MASS MoCA and the Mead Museum in Amherst in 2008. Most recently, Koplowitz, along with architects KBAS, were the winners of a design competition to install a permanent media art installation utilizing camera obscuras for the The Center for New Media in Salt Lake City to be completed in October, 2012.
Immediately following his work at Gustavus, Koplowitz, as part of his continuing TaskForce project, will premiere Natural Acts in Artificial Water for the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park designed by architect Philip Johnson in Houston, Texas, May 19, 20. This summer, he has been invited to the prestigious La Mama Umbria Summer Institute in Spoleto, Italy to teach directing and conduct a residency/workshop on site specificity. After 23 years of living in NYC, Koplowitz, in 2006, moved to Los Angeles as dean and faculty at The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at CalArts.