News & Features
From the Idyllwild Town Crier weekly newspaper, 05.29.08 edition.
Director/Choreographer/Site Artist Stephan Koplowitz brings his newly
formed dance company TaskForce to Idyllwild Arts and the community of
Idyllwild for a series of site-specific performances from Thursday,
June 5, to Sunday, June 8.
a site-specific performance tour
The company consists of eight highly skilled professional dance artists
from Los Angeles and New York City, selected for their technical,
improvisational and creative abilities, along with Los Angeles-based
composer/performer Paul Chavez and a host of invited area artists to
these unusual, inspiring or challenging spaces. Joining these
performances will be local performers and artists.
Featured are Idyllwild Arts Academy faculty artists Denise Felton and
Stephanie Gilliland, with a select group of Idyllwild Arts students;
local poet and jazz legend Herb Jeffries; musical group Local Color;
McCallum Theatre dancers under the direction of April Rhodes; visual
artists Judith Schonebaum and Hannah Ruskin; and videographer Annika
TaskForce is a new and unique touring performance company that brings
art out of the black box and into the town square, out of the gallery
walls and into the public. TaskForce is made up of dancers who will
move across a range of locations to create performances in response to
unusual, inspiring or challenging spaces.
In residence for two weeks, the group will work in Idyllwild, creating
and performing pieces that trace the history of the village and respond
to the more natural environment of that area before moving on to a
four-week stay in the greater urban Los Angeles region (June 10-July 6).
Koplowitz has engaged Paul Chavez, an LA-based composer,
instrumentalist and sound designer, to create original sound scores
inspired by each of the sites and the site-specific choreography of
The weekend-long event will begin with the screening of “Kid Galahad,”
starring Elvis Presley, at the Rustic Theater at 7 p.m. Thursday, June
5. The film screening will pair a Koplowitz short film featuring
TaskForce performing in featured locations from the film. This short
film will be produced the week prior to the event.
The performances continue throughout the weekend beginning on the
Idyllwild Arts campus in The Troys at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 6. The
Troys are the 11 A-frame music rehearsal spaces. At noon Saturday, June
7, TaskForce will perform with poet Herb Jeffries on the grounds of the
Idyllwild Area Historical Society, in Humber Park with musical group
Local Color at 2 p.m., at The Fort with dancers from the McCallum
Theatre at 4 p.m. and back to The Troys on campus at 8 p.m.
On Sunday, June 8, TaskForce moves to Inspiration Point with visual
artists Judith Schonebaum and Hannah Ruskin at noon and ends the day at
3 p.m. with a culmination performance at Town Hall. The Town Hall
performance incorporates both the indoor and outdoor stages
simultaneously with a video installation by Annika Kay.
The sites chosen have historical implications and significance, and
help to tell the story of how Idyllwild came to be. As TaskForce
journeys through and around Idyllwild, the dancers will highlight
elements of the town’s history that have given the place character and
have made it what it is today. From Native American legend to tourism
to wilderness adventures, the company will move, weave and explore.
Sponsored by Transatlantic Arts Consortium (TAC), this is the first in
three phases of the TaskForce project. The second phase will continue
in Europe during July 2009 at sites in Plymouth and Dartington, UK,
before culminating at locations in Essen, Germany, for the final phase
of the project in early summer 2010.
Award-winning director, choreographer and media artist Stephan
Koplowitz is internationally known for his work on the concert stage
and for creating original site-specific, multimedia works for
architecturally significant sites. In addition to his site work, his
choreography and company, Stephan Koplowitz & Company (Kop Art
Inc.), has been presented frequently by internationally recognized
performing arts venues worldwide.
As a site artist, much of Koplowitz’ oeuvre is concerned with the
intersection of natural, social and cultural ecologies within urban
environments. His site work aims to alter people’s perspectives of
place, site and scale, all infused with a sense of the human condition.
Koplowitz’s recent work includes a site-specific work “iseea” for the
Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, commissioned by Summer Stages
Dance, which featured 22 dancers from 10 local professional companies
and was named one of the top 10 dance productions of 2007 by the Boston
Globe; “Revealed,” a site-adaptive installation performance with
room-sized camera obscuras, which premiered in Battery Park City in
2006 and went on to be installed at MassMOCA and Mead Museum at
His large-scale, site-specific works are one-of-a-kind,
precedent-setting events and considered historic. They include
“Fenestrations,” first seen in 1987 and remounted in 1999 in the
windows of Grand Central Terminal; the “Grand Step Project: Flight”
(for 50 dancers on grand staircases in Manhattan, the Bronx and
Brooklyn); “Kohler Korper,” (at a coal-processing facility in Essen,
Germany); and his work “Genesis Canyon” (at the Natural History Museum,
London), which won the 1996 Best Dance Production Award from Time Out
Koplowitz’s “Mapping Idyllwild” is the first commission in America for
the newly formed TransAtlantic Arts Consortium (TAC), a partnership
formed by California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Idyllwild Arts
Academy, Dartington Hall Trust, Dartington College of Arts and King
Edward VI Community College.
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