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Artist challenged dancing ‘out of the box’

Community Portrait
By: Michael Kirby
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Jeane Schwarzkopf has been a resident of the Auburn area for 35 years, though her passions have taken her all over the world. Currently she splits her time between her enchanting countryside home in Weimar and her home in Switzerland. An expressive artist her entire life, Schwarzkopf grew up in Southern California, lived through the ’60s in L.A., and was deeply involved in the local acting community. “I was in the film industry. I was also trained in the classics and the first big play I did was Christopher Frye’s ‘The Lady’s not for Burning,’” Schwarzkopf said. “It had a great run, I loved it.” But the film and acting community did not fit Schwarzkopf’s vision for herself and she soon became disillusioned. “The industry was too neurotic for me. The people were nuts, especially in the film industry, and I felt I needed to do art, but in a form that was more helpful,” she said. Schwarzkopf moved to Switzerland and began studying art and eurythmy, a form of movement art derived from ancient Greek temple dancing. She obtained a master’s degree in art in 1974, her focal point being artistic movement. From there Schwarzkopf took her art to the next step, which was eurythmy therapeutic movement. She began applying her knowledge to therapy treatment of stroke victims, handicapped children and accident survivors, working in collaboration with medical doctors. “Eurythmy can be applied as artistic expression, for physical therapy, or educationally,” she explained. The type of homeopathic treatment Schwarzkopf got involved in is well known and successfully used throughout Europe. She returned to California in 1975 and was soon training and teaching courses in this form of dance and movement. Moving to Auburn, she continued teaching. Now retired, Schwarzkopf has embarked on new artistic ground with her latest project. It infuses dance and movement with art, poetry and music in a visual presentation. At 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, Schwarzkopf will collaborate with artist and painter Sondra Hersh in a special performance called “A Journey of Senses,” at the ARTS Building Gallery, 808 Lincoln Way in Auburn. The effort will merge dance, paintings, sculpture, poetry and music. Six months in the making, it will feature Schwarzkopf moving throughout the gallery as poetry and music are heard and Hersh’s paintings are projected onto a large wall. Dressed in white silk, Schwarzkopf will move and dance, becoming part of Hersh’s artwork as she travels in front of the projected paintings and around sculptures in the gallery. “The idea is to bring things that are out of the box, because most forms have been done and re-done. At first I was unsure how to collaborate with a painting. I’m a movement person,” she observed. “The challenge was how to bring movement, something that is not a finished product, into a painting. My work is in the moment, and the paintings are completed.” Schwarzkopf has lived, taught and performed all over the world in front of some very high-profile audiences during her career. She is now content to only take on projects that move her and provide new challenges to her special artistic talents.