ABOUT STEPHAN KOPLOWITZ (web narrative bio, not for publication)

Since 1984, Stephan Koplowitz has found inspiration for his work in mapping the human experience through arts from sources rooted in his interest in music, photography, film, theater and dance. As the son of an American spy, he had the opportunity to grow up in France, Brazil and other parts of the world. Those early life experiences informed and influenced his international perspective on life and culture.

 

Koplowitz is a graduate of Wesleyan University where he majored in music composition. He was mentored by composer Alvin Lucier and dance artist Cheryl Cutler. He started his professional dance training with Hanya Holm during two summers in Colorado.  He started his teaching career at Jacob’s Pillow after fellowships there guided by Liz Thompson. While earning his MFA in Choreography at the University of Utah, Koplowitz encountered the work of Trisha Brown, David Gordon, Bessie Schonberg, Ann Riordan and other influential artists.

 

Koplowitz has lectured, taught and conducted community projects throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. His creative portfolio includes 92 works, 65 produced by commission. His concert work has been produced and presented by several venues and festivals, most significantly eight seasons at NY’s Dance Theater Workshop (now NY Live Arts), thanks to then Executive Producer David White who allowed his concert work to develop over several years.  For seven summers, the Bates Dance Festival Director Laura Faure engaged Koplowitz as a creative artist and educator. Koplowitz also has worked with the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival with Sam Miller, Dance Place, DC, the American Dance Festival and other festivals and institutions.

 

His career as a site artist began with a commission from Elise Bernhardt, the founder and director of Dancing in the Streets to create a series of large-scale works. More than 16,000 people witnessed the first work, Fenestrations, part of Grand Central Dances in 1987. It was considered a landmark work of site-specific performance and was remounted over the course of four evenings in 1999 for an audience of over 65,000 people.  Koplowitz returned to work with Dancing in the Streets in 2004 and 2008 (with Aviva Davidson) with two works: The Grand Step Project, seen by 8,000 in three boroughs of NYC, and Five Entrances into a War Machine at the historical airfield, Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, NY.

 

His site work also has taken him to Europe where Val Bourne, Artistic Director of the Dance Umbrella Festival, commissioned two seminal works, Genesis Canyon at the Natural History Museum and Babel Index at the British Library.  Other Koplowitz works have been commissioned and performed in Germany, Italy, Vietnam and across the United States, including Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, Lewiston, Portland (ME), Los Angeles, Columbus, San Francisco, Milwaukee, St. Peter (MN), Chattanooga, Salt Lake City and San Diego.

Koplowitz was appointed dean and faculty of The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at the California Institute of the Arts in 2006 and lead that program for a decade, capping a thirty-three-year career in arts education. His 23 years as director of dance at the Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn, NY (private K-12) gave him the experience of teaching every age and level of learning (pre-K through MFA). His interest in education inspired his contribution to the first book on site-specific choreography Site Dance, published by Florida University Press published in 2009 and 2011 (paperback edition). His interest in the potential of online creative work lead to the creation of the first dance-related course on Coursera and the MOOC platform. His course, Creating Site-Specific Dance and Performance Works, online from 2013-2016, was the first dance-related course on Coursera and the MOOC platform. Over 21,000 people from 154 countries have registered for this course. In 2022, Oxford University Press will publish his first book On Site: Methods for Creating Site-Specific Performance.

(a list of awards and fellowships can be found below and more specific bios- site, visual/media and education in the dropdown menu above)

AWARDS

2017        Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Resident Fellowship, for work on book project: Creating Site-Specific Performance Works: Strategies on                  Creative and Production Techniques

 

2014        The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Choreographic Commission for work with Axis                           Dance

 

                ColumbusAlive.com Best Dance of 2014 (Sullivant’s Travels)

 

2013        Winner (with KBAS) public art commission- Utah Arts Council -Light Camera Action for the Center for New Media, Salt Lake City for 2013

                 

                Houston Press, Best Ensemble Production  (Natural Acts in Artificial Water)

 

2010        Distinguished Alumnus Award from the School of Fine Arts, University of Utah,  Modern Dance

 

2007        Boston Globe, Ten Best Dance Works of 2007,  (iseea)

 

2004        Herb Alpert Award in the Arts (Dance)

 

                 Artist Resource and Media Laboratory Fellowship, Jerome Foundation, Dance Theater Workshop

 

2003       Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in Choreography

 

                Artist Resource and Media Laboratory Fellowship, Jerome Foundation, Dance Theater Workshop

 

2000       New York Dance and Performance Award (“Bessie”) for Sustained Achievement in Choreography

 

1997        National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Fellowship

                 

                The Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund (Webbed Feats, Bryant Park)

 

1996        First Light Choreographic Commission Award-Joyce-Mertz Gilmore Foundation

                 

                Time Out Magazine, London, England, Best Dance Production (Genesis Canyon)

 

1995       Arts Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts

                 

                First Light Choreographic Commission Award-Joyce-Mertz Gilmore Foundation

 

1994        Distinguished Alumnus Award, Wesleyan University

 

1993-4    National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Fellowship

 

1993        First Light Choreographic Commission Award-Joyce-Mertz Gilmore Foundation

 

1991-2     National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Fellowship

 

1990        National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Fellowship

                

                Frank L. Babbott Chair of Literature and Arts Packer Collegiate Institute

 

1989        National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Fellowship

 

                First Light Choreographic Commission Award-Joyce-Mertz Gilmore Foundation

 

                Frank L. Babbott Chair of Literature and Arts Packer Collegiate Institute.

 

1988        National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Fellowship

 

                First Light Choreographic Commission Award-Joyce-Mertz Gilmore Foundation

 

1987        First Light Choreographic Commission Award-Joyce-Mertz Gilmore Foundation