Antiseptic dance antics for our era: Steve Koplowitz at The Wooden Floor

Architecture & Design · Dance · Film

The cool kids who attend dance class at The Wooden Floor, the renowned and respected Orange County-based program that enhances youth development through dance, are not among the bummed-out performers sidelined by COVID-19. Heck no! They traded in the dance studio’s wooden floor for an asphalt parking lot! Under the command of a veritable P.T. Barnum of site-specific choreography, Stephan Koplowitz, they took “agency” over their environment. They literally took over their attractive home digs and performed all ’round the facility’s grounds in the 38th annual showcase capping teaching residencies by a roster of top post-modern choreographers. They’re kids — a spectrum of ages — thus non-professional dancers. So we don’t review them. But what struck us so keenly about Koplowitz’s touring extravaganza (in toto, he used sidewalks, parking lot, parked cars, stairwells, spooling films, and yes, dance studios!) was how peculiarly apt one of his scenarios.

It was a fishbowl dance for four antiseptically protected dancers. Clad in basic white-wear that underpinned transparent plastic shells and face masks, they fiddled with strings of lights in a glass vitrine for a masked audience, themselves socially distancing. A sign of our times, and if you think about it, rather sad. But watching, we were so gripped by taking in this odd sight that you rather not waste time in judging it. I enjoyed this creative stroke, as well as several others, for example a textured takeover of a staircase. The percolating soundscape was by Robert Allaire; the vivid costumes by Jennifer Vaughn. Concept, choreography and marvelous films by Koplowitz, who delivered this nicely integrated work on a large scale, showing that virus who’s the boss.

Photo credit: George Simian. Dancers : Jessica Alanis, Beverly Mazon, Diego Teran, Evan Velazquez-Moreno.

Passage/Home, site-specific annual concert | The Wooden Floor | repeats this weekend.

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