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Home > University Dance

CalArts News


Stephan Koplowitz Named Dean of The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at CalArts

Valencia, CA, February 1--California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) President Steven D. Lavine announced that leading choreographer and educator Stephan Koplowitz has been appointed Dean of the CalArts’ Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance. Based in New York City for the past 23 years, Mr. Koplowitz is a vital participant in many facets of the contemporary dance world. His multidisciplinary practice encompasses combinations of concert performance, theater and public site work as well as education, community arts and multimedia production. He will assume his position at CalArts on August 1, 2006.


Mr. Koplowitz’s arrival overlaps with a number of significant developments at CalArts: the coming on line of new endowment in support of CalArts’ Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance, the emergence of CalArts’ downtown professional space--The Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater (REDCAT)--which has already demonstrated a commitment to the presentation of contemporary dance (locally, nationally, and internationally), and the reconfiguration of the Theater School's professional production arm as the Center for New Performance which will now also collaborate with the Schools of Music and Dance.

Mr. Koplowitz’s egalitarian practice takes dance out of the theater and into the streets, parks, public buildings and, on occasion, swimming pools of the world. He is best known for creating large-scale performances for architecturally compelling and challenging spaces. Sites for his work have included London’s British Library and Natural History Museum, the windows of Grand Central Terminal and Union Station in New York City, and a coal processing plant in Essen, Germany.

“Whether I am choreographing for a site or the stage, I am influenced by my environment and my community,” said Mr. Koplowitz. “The fact that Los Angeles faces Asia and borders on Mexico offers a new perspective on my world. This, in combination with the richness and intensity of the artistic community at CalArts, provides exciting possibilities for developing work and collaborations. Although I am moving to the Los Angeles area, I feel that CalArts is its own city within a city--with its own culture, resources and links to other cultures around the globe. As an educator, I am thrilled by the opportunity and challenge of sharing my experience and art with the outstanding students of CalArts.”

Throughout his career, Mr. Koplowitz has been committed to working as a public artist. In 1987, he created the groundbreaking Fenestrations for 36 performers in the Vanderbilt windows at Grand Central Station. Since then, he has continued to create performances that simultaneously celebrate and critique public architecture and institutions.

David White, former Executive Director and Producer and currently Producer at Large for New York's Dance Theater Workshop, commented, "Stephan Koplowitz covers the waterfront not only in the geographic and intergenerational scope of his work, but equally in his effortless move back and forth between concert and sight-specific venues (not to mention his educational and technology backgrounds). He will bring a gust of fresh thinking to the program."


Mr. Koplowitz’s work often explores relationships between people and their communities. In 2004, some of New York City's most magnificent staircases came alive in Mr. Koplowitz's largest site-specific work to date. The Grand Step Project, for 100 dancers and singers, took place on six landmark staircases throughout New York City. Performing to an original score, these dancers evoked the historic and contemporary uses of each staircase. The project also included acclaimed local choirs singing music tailored to each site.

From 1997‘s Webbed Feats: Bytes of Bryant Park to the upcoming The Camera Obscura Project, Mr. Koplowitz has continued to investigate interactive possibilities between choreography and technology. Webbed Feats was one of the first site-specific interactive performances originating on the web. It employed a website to solicit ideas for the creation of a site-specific outdoor event at Bryant Park in New York. The result was a seven-hour performance festival featuring two premiere site-specific works. (Documentation is located at

Slated to premiere in May 2006, The Camera Obscura Project (PROTOTYPE) will be a public art installation/performance that brings a new perspective to the world’s first imaging technology. From Thursday, May 22 through Sunday, June 25, the Camera Obscura Project (PROTOTYPE) will be installed in front of the Winter Garden at Battery Park City.

Performance of A Walk Between Two Worlds will take place at DTW in New York from Thursday, May 4 to Saturday, May 6 at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, May 7th at 2 p.m.

Mr. Koplowitz has served in his current position as Director of Dance at the Packer Collegiate Institute for 20 years. From 2003 to 2004 he was awarded fellowships to DTW’s Artist Resource Media Laboratory and he was a Co-Curator of DTW’s Captured a dance/video festival. He also taught video editing as part of DTW’s Artist Resource Media Laboratory.

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CalArts, the first U.S. higher educational institution to integrate the visual and performing arts under one roof, is recognized as the nation’s leading laboratory for the arts. Housing six schools-- Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music and Theater--CalArts embraces creative cross-pollination among diverse art forms and traditions and strongly encourages each artist to pursue his or her vision within a broad context of social and cultural understanding.

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