In 1987, while still a fledgling choreographer, Stephan Koplowitz created Fenestrations, which was danced in the four-story-tall windows of Grand Central Terminal. Performed by a cast of 36 and watched by thousands, it turned out to be his big break. Twelve years later, a freshly polished Grand Central has invited him back. And this time, he's bringing a cast of 72.
In the past decade, Koplowitz has enjoyed a steady stream of commissions for large-scale site-specific works in unusual spaces (including a former coal factory) here and in Europe, always involving dancers by the legion: 54 in London's British Library last year, 50 in the Hudson River Museum in 1996, and 90 at Washington's Union Station in 1991.
In Fenestrations2, part of a free celebration called "Grand Central In-Motion" running from Thursday through Sunday, dancers will literally fill the windows on both sides of the station's main concourse (the 1987 event involved only one side), dancing in the three-foot space between the interior and exterior panes, on four levels of glass-floored catwalks. The 15-minute piece, which evokes both the iconography of stained glass and the ebb and flow of commuters heading home, will be repeated at 7, 8, and 9 p.m. nightly, "much like a train," Koplowitz says. He invites us to experience the station anew.
"That terminal is one of the grandest spaces in New York, but it's a place we go to get somewhere else. This gives us the opportunity to appreciate it for what it is."