Karole Armitage's contemporary ballet company, Armitage Gone! Dance, has announced the official programming for the company's return to The Joyce Theater, taking place April 26-May 8, 2011. To purchase tickets, please call JoyceCharge at 212-242-0800 or visit www.joyce.org. The Joyce Theater is located at 175 Eighth Avenue (at 19th Street) in Chelsea.
During this two-week engagement, Armitage Gone! Dance will present two programs revealing founder and artistic director Karole Armitage's sensibility that at once embraces classical values and, as reflected in her Tony© nominated choreography for Hair, knocks them askew. Program A is comprised of three works, Drastic-Classicism performed to Rhys Chatham's clangorous score; the deeply-loved and lyrical Ligeti Essays; and the World Premiere of GAGA-Gaku, a new collaborative work with the re-emerging Dance Theater of Harlem. Program B is devoted to the mesmerizing Three Theories, described as "brainy brilliance translate[d] into exquisite extensions of the dance vocabulary."
April 26 at 7:30pm; April 29 at 8pm; April 30 at 2pm; May 4 at 7:30pm; May 5 at 8pm;
May 7 at 8pm; May 8 at 2pm
GAGA-Gaku (World Premiere) isa new work by Armitage that brings her dancers together with young ballerinas from the re-emerging Dance Theatre of Harlem. Gagaku is the ancient court music and Armitage is ‘gaga' over Cambodian court dance, Japanese Noh Theater and Balinese dance. Artaud wrote in On The Balinese Theater in 1931 that "the drama does not develop as a conflict of feelings but of states of mind which are reduced to gestures - to structures -- portraying the unleashing of cosmic forces and chaos waiting behind the mask of order we try to impose on life. It is a purely internal conflict." Composer Lois V Vierk is a student of gagaku and her music translates the ancient form into a caffeinated, trans-cultural ride.
Ligeti Essays (2006) is choreographed to a suite of three, jewel-like song cycles composed by the late György Ligeti. In these haiku-like compositions, Ligeti expresses the full gamut of our complex and contradictory natures: from the humorous to the trivial and sarcastic, with passages of languorous, beautiful daydreams. The ballet is set off to perfection by David Salle's stunning set.
Drastic Classicism (1981/2009) is one of Armitage's signature works. It is performed to Rhys Chatham's clangorous score by guitarist Steven Gunn and audio ensemble TALIBAM! When it premiered in New York thirty years ago, it shocked audiences with its audacity: pairing ballet movement with the raw energy of punk's wall of sound. Yet, as Arlene Croce wrote at the time, "Classical values that were flayed alive, stayed alive."
Aprirl 27 at 7:30pm; April 28 at 8pm; April 30 at 8pm; May 1at 2pm; May 3 at 7:30pm; May 6 at 8pm; May 7at 2pm
Three Theories (2010)
A balletic work that looks at the poetry underlying the pillars of 20th Century theoretical physics -- Einstein's General Theory of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics -- and the upstart newcomer known as String Theory. It is evidence of the eclectic material that inspires Armitage. "There are forces that move us which we understand; others which we don't. My dances are the combination of both. The ultimate purpose in bringing together such forces is to create beautiful and symbolically meaningful movement that quickens our sense of the world."
Artistic Director Karole Armitage was rigorously trained in classical ballet and began her professional career in 1973 as a member of the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève, Switzerland, a company devoted exclusively to the repertory of George Balanchine. In 1976, she was invited to join Merce Cunningham's company where she remained for five years, performing leading roles in Cunningham's landmark works. Through her unique and acute knowledge of the aesthetic values of Balanchine and Cunningham, Armitage has created her own "voice" in the dichotomy of classical and modern and is seen is by some critics as the true choreographic heir to the two masters of twentieth-century American dance.
Known as the "punk ballerina," Armitage created her first piece in 1978, followed by the iconic Drastic-Classicism in 1981. Throughout the 80s she led her own New York-based dance company, Armitage Ballet. Following the premiere of The Watteau Duets at Dance Theater Workshop, Mikhail Baryshnikov invited her to create a work for American Ballet Theatre, and Rudolph Nureyev commissioned a work for the Paris Opera Ballet. Subsequently, she continued to work both in Europe and the US until 1996 when she was appointed Director of MaggioDanzain Florence, Italy. From 1999 to 2004 she was the resident choreographer of the Ballet de Lorraine in France and in 2005, served as the Director of the Venice Biennale Festival of Contemporary Dance. (Her work continues to tour throughout the Continent, performed by several European companies.) In 2004, her company made its debut at the Joyce Theatre and Jennifer Dunning of the New York Times wrote, "Karole Armitage's Time is the echo of an axe within a wood...is one of the most beautiful dances to be seen in New York in a very long time." After this successful season at the Joyce, Armitage's focus shifted more to her New-York based company.
As a true post-modernist, Armitage resides in both the esoteric and the popular, having choreographed two Broadway productions (Passing Strange and Hair which garnered her a TONY® nomination), works for Madonna and Michael Jackson and several Merchant-Ivory films. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Grand Prix Roscigno Danza (Italy), and in the spring of 2009, was awarded France's most prestigious award, Commandeur dans L'ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Among the companies she has set new works on are: the Bolshoi Ballet, Moscow, American Ballet Theatre, the Paris Opera Ballet; White Oak Dance Project; the Deutsche Oper Berlin; the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich; Les Ballets de Monte Carlo; Lyon Opera Ballet; Ballet Nacional de Cuba; the Washington Ballet; Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; The Kansas City Ballet; the Bern Ballet and the Rambert Dance Company. She has directed operas from the baroque and contemporary repertoire for many of the prestigious houses of Europe including Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, the Lyric Opera in Athens and Het Muzik Theater in Amsterdam.
Her work has been the subject of two documentaries made for television: The South Bank Show (1985), directed by David Hinton and Wild Ballerina (1998), directed by Mark Kidel. Upcoming projects include choreography for The Cunning Little Vixen presented by the NY Philharmonic in June at Avery Fisher Hall, choreography for a film musical aimed exclusively for the Chinese market called The Thief, choreography for the musical Pretty Filthy about the LA adult film industry produced by The Civilians/Center Theatre Group in LA and choreography for the 2012 Cirque du Soleil tent production.
ARMITAGE GONE! DANCE
Celebrated director and choreographer Karole Armitage launched Armitage Gone! Dance in New York in 2005 upon her return to the city after 15 years in Europe. Dedicated to redefining the boundaries and perceptions of contemporary dance, the company extends the mandate of innovation that characterized both her earlier Armitage Ballet, founded in 1985, and her first full-time company, Armitage Gone!, founded in 1979.