“Site Specific” Koplowitz dance performance to highlight humanities building dedication

PHONE: (713) 348-6777
EMAIL: dkaplan@rice.edu


When choreographer Stephan
Koplowitz says he enjoys working on a large stage, he means very

His dancers have performed inside Grand Central
Terminal, the British Library in London, and the Kokerie Factory, an immense
coal processing plant in Essen, Germany.

Known around the world for his site-specific
dance performances, Koplowitz will bring his breathtaking artistry to Houston
for the opening of Rice University’s new Humanities building, on Oct. 20 and 21
at 8 p.m.

It will be Koplowitz’s first production in the
American Southwest.

Titled “Open Book/Open House,” the performance
will feature about 40 dancers performing continuously in different locations
inside and outside the building, including the roof. There will be seven
professional dancers in the production as well as dancers from Rice and the
University of Houston.

The Chicago Tribune described one of Koplowitz’s
site-specific performances as “a stirring, one-of-a-kind triumph.” The New York
Times has noted Koplowitz’s “extraordinary sensitivity to environment.” The
Washington Post declared Koplowitz’s production at Union Station to be
“spectacular,” “amazing,” and “something no one who saw it is ever likely to

In September, Koplowitz received a Bessie award
which in the dance world is the equivalent of a Tony, Emmy or Oscar. The Bessie
is presented annually to outstanding performers and choreographers by the Dance
Theater Workshop in New York. He received his award in the Creator/Choreographer
category for “sustained achievement.”

Koplowitz, a New York City resident, says the aim
of his site-specific dances is to “transform a building-give people a chance to
experience it in a completely different way.”

His Houston performance, he says, will celebrate
the new Humanities building as well as its purpose, which is to house the
departments of history, philosophy, religious studies, and several
interdisciplinary centers and programs, such as the Center for the Study of
Cultures and the Study of Women and Gender.

Along with its exploration of the building’s
specific design and function, Koplowitz says the event will contain “a certain
amount of whimsy.”

The performance will feature lighting by Kevin
Rigdon, the resident designer for Steppenwolf Theatre since its inception in
1974. Rigdon has designed numerous productions on Broadway, in London, and at
the Alley Theatre, and has received two Tony Award nominations.

The dance will be choreographed to an original
score by Anthony Barilla, who has written music for Infernal Bridegroom
Productions, Bobbindoctrin Puppet Theater, Stages Repertory Theatre, and
National Public Radio.

Koplowitz’s assistant director is his longtime
collaborator Karen Stokes of Houston.

The Humanities building, designed by architect
Allan Greenberg of Washington, D.C., expands upon the Mediterranean style of the
Rice campus and features courtyards, covered passageways and an elegant main
lobby. It is located near the heart of the Rice campus, just south of Fondren

Gale Stokes, interim dean of the School of
Humanities, says that a building dedication featuring choreography by Stephan
Koplowitz is not an event that people typically associate with Rice, a school
that has in the past been viewed as a science and engineering institution. “A
unique and thrilling performance of this kind,” Stokes says, “underscores the
richness and excitement of humanistic study at Rice.”

The Humanities Building dedication performance is
open to the public. Prices are $10 for the public and $5 for members of the Rice
community. For ticket information, call (713) 348-7529.

For more information about Rice’s School of
Humanities see: <http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~humadmin/>.

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