LEWISTON — Te final weekend of the 2017 Bates Dance Festival beings with two performances of an immersive event featuring 60 dancers with live music, video and installations in and around the bates Mill Complex in downtown Lewiston.

Internationally renowned site choreographer Stephan Koplowitz’s “Mill Town” takes place at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Aug. 3 and 4, in the mill at 130 Mill St. 

Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and $12 for students. Online tickets are available at batestickets.com. For more information, please visit the festival website, at batesdancefestival.org, or call the box office at 207-786-6161.

The week prior to the “Mill Town” performances, Koplowitz and other members of the creative team offer “Making ‘Mill Town’: A Collaborator’’s Conversation” at 7:30 p.m.Wednesday, July 26, at the historical Museum L-A Gallery at 35 Canal St. Admission is free.

The festival concludes on Saturday, Aug. 5, with Young Choreographers / New Works at 1 p.m. in Schaeffer Theatre, 329 College St. (free admission) and the Festival Finale at 7:30 p.m. in Alumni Gymnasium, 130 Central Ave. ($6 cash admission at the door).

‘Mill Town’
Inspired by the geography, industry and culture of Lewiston-Auburn, once a major center for textile and shoe production, Koplowitz has designed “Mill Town” for a multigenerational cast of professional and local dancers.


The initial spark for the work was a series of conversations with Museum L-A, which interprets the history of Lewiston-Auburn and is a key partner in the “Mill Town” project.

The piece features original music by award-winning composer Todd Reynolds, scenic and media design by Shawn Hove, video by Ellen Maynard and costumes by Melody Eggen.

Three years in the making, “Mill Town” is structured as a promenade for the audience through the mill, with evocative scenic and media installations, video footage shot throughout the city and artifacts from Museum L-A, which occupies part of the complex. 

The July 26 “Making ‘Mill Town’ ” conversation includes Koplowitz, Reynolds, Hove and festival director Laura Faure, who is serving as producer of the piece. They will share insights on the inception and evolution of “Mill Town.” 

Attendees will also enjoy Museum L-A’s current exhibition, “Structures & Patterns – The Remnants of Our Work!” featuring paintings by Janice Moore and photographs by Mark Marchesi that were inspired by the mills.

Koplowitz is an award-winning director, choreographer, media artist and educator. His honors include a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography, six National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Fellowships and Time Out Magazine’s Award for Best Dance Production of 1996 for the piece “Genius Canyon.” 


“Koplowitz is a master of the monumental,” says Lena Corner, a writer for the Big Issue in London. “His one-of-a-kind, site-specific pieces, which assemble hoards of dancers within unusual urban locations, [put] a unique slant on both architecture and dance.”  

Dance writer Debra Cash affords insight into Koplowitz and his work with a 7 p.m. Inside Dance lecture preceding Friday’s show. 

Saturday events
Young Choreographers/New Works is an informal adjudicated showing of 20 new works of choreography by festival students from 1 to 5 p.m. at Schaeffer Theatre. Audience members are invited to come and go throughout the afternoon. 

The Festival Finale presents student dancers of all ages performing jazz, contemporary, hip hop and Caribbean-inspired works by David Dorfman, Danny Buraczeski, Claudia Lavista and Omar Carrum, Shakia Johnson and Tania Isaac. This culmination of the festival’’s three-week intensive training program also showcases an original production by talented local youth, ages 7-16, enrolled in the Youth Arts Program. 

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