A Brief History of Armitage Gone! Dance
Over the past 30 years, Karole Armitage and her dancers have shaped the evolution of contemporary dance through the creation and performance of new works. The most recent incarnation of the company, Armitage Gone! Dance, was launched in 2004 when Karole Armitage returned to the U.S. after 15 years of working abroad. Dedicated to redefining the boundaries and perception of contemporary dance, the company extends the mandate of innovation that characterizes both her earlier Armitage Ballet, founded in 1985, and her first full time company, Armitage Gone!, founded in 1979.
Dubbed the ‘punk ballerina' in the 1980s and recently Tony-nominated for her choreography of the Broadway musical Hair, Armitage distinguishes her company from its contemporaries through her extreme versatility and originality. Building on classical and modern idioms from the Balanchine to the Cunningham traditions, Armitage infuses experimental thinking in the geometric balance, speed, rhythm and beauty of dance steps. Jennifer Dunning, dance critic for the New York Times, wrote of Time is the echo of an axe within a wood which premiered in 2004, "one of the most beautiful dances to be seen in New York in a very long time." She derives inspiration from sources such as physics, Japanese aesthetics, fashion, pop culture, new media, and from her dancers, of diverse cultural and dance backgrounds.
Armitage Gone! Dance is well known for its collaborations with innovators in music, science, and the visual arts, including artists David Salle and Jeff Koons and string-theory physicist Brian Greene. The company regularly performs to live music and has commissioned many scores since its 2004 debut. Known for their free spirited panache, Armitage Gone! Dancers bring unique flavors and strong personality to the stage. The company's wide ranging projects include poetic ballets set to 20th and 21st century scores, work with the African pop band Burkina Electric (Itutu 2009), opera, (notably the 2008 collaboration with Gotham Chamber opera on Ariadne Unhinged and the New York Philharmonic production of The Cunning Little Vixen), Made in Naples (a comedy centered on Pulcinella) and Armitage "punk ballet" classics danced to loud, live music.
The core of the company output centers on a series of dance ‘dreamscapes’ that take the viewer on a poetic journey to evoke mysterious landscapes of reverie, dream and altered consciousness. Having worked as a choreographer for Cirque du Soleil, Madonna, Michael Jackson and on Broadway, Armitage’s interests are wide ranging, mixing the popular with the marginal as well as the technique and traditions of both ballet and modern dance.
Since its launch in 2004, Armitage Gone! Dance has presented several New York seasons each year at venues that include Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Joyce Theater, The Kitchen, The Miller Theatre, New York City Center, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Lincoln Center. The company offers educational (k-12) programs at the Abrons Art Center/Henry Street Settlement. The company also regularly performs at premier festivals and venues throughout the United States, Europe and Central America, from Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival to the Venice Biennale Festival of Contemporary dance, which Armitage directed in 2005.
The company is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council for the Arts, The National Dance Project, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, as well as corporate, foundation and individual patrons.