World Premiere October, 27 2017

Choreography: Karole Armitage

An immersive choreographic experience for Halloween.

Walt Disney's black and white 1929 animation, The Skeleton Dance, is considered to be one of the greatest cartoons ever made. Full of musical and visual puns created in a flat, herky-jerky animation style, it brims with imagination and rigor. It is a mood piece without story or character, but full of late night frolicking. The creative team is taking The Skeleton Dance as a jumping off point for a live action rendition.

Disney’s composer, Carl Stalling used a comic paste up method of combining unrelated classical melodies and pop tunes with original bridge music. We are taking Stalling's mashup as the model, adding elements inspired by the street theater of the Jacmel Haitian Carnival. Electronics, home-made instruments, live foley, performers deconstructing their own skeletal structure, spell-casting Witches, twerking Skeletons, dancing Eyeballs, and other frights will come to life in a contemporary dance macabre. 

The skeleton dance Xylophone copy


AGON (2016) 

World premiere May 15, 2016 Royal Festival Hall London

Choreography: Karole Armitage
Music: Igor Stravinsky
Costumes: Peter Speliopoulos
Lighting Design: Clifton Taylor

A commission by the London Philharmonia as part of the Stravinsky Myths and Rituals season with Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting.



World premiere March 25, 2015 at the American Museum of Natural History – Milstein Hall of Ocean Life

Concept, Choreography: Karole Armitage
Music: John Luther Adams, Phillip Glass, Henryk Gorecki, Michael Gordon, Arvo Part 
Lighting Design: Clifton Taylor
Total Running Time: 55 minutes

Karole Armitage created a site-specific dance production on climate change and its cultural context featuring Dr. Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University. Dr. Ehrlich, MacArthur Genius Award and Crafoord prize Winner (equivalent of the Nobel in Biological Sciences), wrote an original text for the production.

The meditative essay on culture and climate runs simultaneously with the dance, unfolding as a parallel voyage suggesting individuals reckoning with peril and undergoing a change of consciousness that leads to harmony. 

Sharks 2dancers

Four Seasons - A Spinning Planet (2014)

Concept, Direction, Choreography: Karole Armitage
Music:  Antonio Vivaldi, John Adams, Eric Satie, Offenbach, Samuel Barber, Aaron Copeland, Dmitri Shostakovich, Gioachino Rossini, Albert Roussel, Gerhard Richter - played live by your local orchestra. 
Costumes and Props Doug Fitch
Text: Craig Shemin
Lighting Design: Clifton Taylor
Total Running Time: 58 Minutes

Four Seasons - A Spinning Planet is a dance designed for young people and their families based on stories about our planet, inspired by ancient and timeless fables from around the globe. The stories provide a lovely glimpse into the beauty and fragility of the natural world while offering insight into the bonds that tie humans to each other and to nature. 

Touring personnel (11): Karole Armitage, 7 dancers, Technical Director/Lighting Supervisor, Stage Manger, Company Manger.


Mechanics of the Dance Machine (2013)

Karole Armitage
:Gabriel Prokofiev, Craig Leon, Johann Sebastian Bach
Costume Design: 
Deanna Berg MacClean
Lighting Design
: Clifton Taylor
10 dancers
Total Running Time:
55 minutes

"Mechanics of the Dance Machine" with music by Gabriel Prokofiev alternates between electrically fierce dance and metaphors of intimacy and its unfinished business. The dancers follows pathways created in red light by lighting designer Clifton Taylor that move in and around the dancers. The patterns have a beauty of their own derived from mathematical shapes called Walsh functions. The asymmetrical patterns become increasing complex as the dance unfolds. The evolving checkerboard patterns seen from seats will provide rich geometrical designs as dancers move inside the unconventional frames and oddly shaped spaces.

Touring personnel (12): Karole Armitage, Stage Manager, Tech Director, 9 Dancers.

Watch excerpt here

 MG 8990

Photo by Eli Schmidt

GAGA-Gaku  (2011)

Choreography: Karole Armitage
Music: Lois V Vierk 五Guitars (Go Guitars) and Red Shift
Lighting Design: Clifton Taylor
Costumes: 132 5. ISSEY MIYAKE
Performers: 8 dancers
Total Running Time: 25 minutes

Gaga-Gaku draws upon the mysterious worlds of Cambodian court dance, Japanese Noh Theater and Balinese dance.  The music is rooted in Gagaku, the ancient court music of Japan. It is refined yet roiling with forces from beyond the visible world. 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 -- portraying the unleashing of cosmic forces and chaos waiting behind the mask of order we try to impose on life. It is an internal conflict.” Composer Lois V Vierk is a student of gagaku. She transforms the ancient music into a caffeinated, trans-cultural present. The sculpted, origami-based costumes by Issey Miyake are conceived in collaboration with a computer scientist and made with recycled materials. The dancers stomp and glide moved by forces they cannot see, each in their own universe. Complex contrapuntal phrases performed by single dancers or groups of dancers whirl beside those that coalesce into states of slow-motion trance. The music courses through their bodies, like the unseen forces that surround us.

Touring personnel (11): Karole Armitage, Stage Manager, Tech Director, 8 Dancers.

Watch excerpt here


Three Theories (2010)

Choreography: Karole Armitage
Music: Bang - music by Rhys Chatham, excerpt from “Two Gongs”
Relativity – “Raga Jog: Vilambit Ektaal” performed by Sangeeta Shankar (violin) and Ramkumar Misra (tabla)
Quantum – original score by Rhys Chatham
String – music by John Luther Adams, “Dark Waves”
Costume Design: Deanna Berg MacLean
Lighting Design: Clifton Taylor
Performers: 8 dancers
Total Running Time: 1 hour

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.”

Touring personnel (11): Karole Armitage, Stage Manager, Tech Director, 8 Dancers.

Watch excerpt here


Itutu (2009)

Choreography: Karole Armitage
Music: Burkina Electric and band memberLukas Ligeti
Set Design: Philip Taaffe
Costumes: Peter Speliopoulos
Lighting Design: Clifton Taylor
Performers: 10 dancers with 4 Burkina Electric dancer/musicians on stage and 2 musicians in orchestra pit. 
Total Running Time: 65 minutes

ITUTU is collaboration between Armitage Gone! Dance, composer Lukas Ligeti and the West African electronica band, Burkina Electric. The evening-long work mixes vocabularies and sounds from multiple sources.  The riveting African pop sounds of Burkina Electric sue th eancient Burkinabé rhythms of Burkina Faso with western club electronica. Armitage’s classical abstractions and traditional African dance translate the polyrhythmic music into a poly-visual form. Western artists have been in a dialogue with African aesthetics since the turn of the last Century. Itutu celebrates that continuum.

Touring personnel (21): Karole Armitage, Rehearsal Director, Tech Director, Lighting Supervisor, 11 Dancers, 6 musicians.

Watch excerpt here


Made in Naples (2009) 

Choreography: Karole Armitage
Music: John Adams, Rhys Chatham, Ensemble Novecento, György Ligeti, Jeffrey Lohn, Marco Messina, The Sex Pistols, David Shea, Carl Stalling, Igor Stravinsky, Tammurriata dei Monti Lattari, Libera Velo, Martin Wheeler

Painted Panels: Karen Kilimnik 
Silk Curtains: David Salle
Costumes and Props: Alba Clemente
Lighting Design: Barbara Mugnai
Performers: 11 dancers\
Total Running Time: 45 min.

Made in Naples was inspired by the Neapolitan Commedia dell’Arte character, Pulcinella, whose ever-shifting nature has made him one of the great archetypes. Pulcinella’s character can be bawdy or aristocratic, orderly or anarchic. Pulcinella embodies the unruly, farcical, merrymaking nature of humankind, desiring only to eat, drink and love, though his path is always strewn with obstacles.

The production is a contemporary Vaudeville – a kaleidoscope of acts. Made in Naples moves from comedy to romance; from popular culture to aristocratic and intellectual traditions with animal acts, acrobatics, a hint of politics, pure dance, and nods to Commedia dell’Arte thrown in. 

Touring personnel (16): Karole Armitage, Rehearsal Director, Christina Johnson, Tech Director, Prop and Wardrobe Supervisor, 11 Dancers.

Watch excerpt here



The Watteau Duets (1985/2009)

Choreography: Karole ArmitageOriginal Score: David Linton, The Simpleton’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Music 
Costumes: Movement 1 & 4: Original Costumes by Charles Atlas;  Movement 2, 3, 5 & 6: Costumes by Peter Speliopoulos
Lighting Design: Clifton Taylor
Musicians: TALIBAM! - Matt Mottel and Kevin Shea
Performers: 2 dancers and 2 musicians. 
Total Running Time: 25 minutes. 

The title for The Watteau Duets is taken from the French artist, Jean-Antoine Watteau whose 18th Century paintings depicted characters in the comedy of love. In this 20th Century look at the subject, the idealized baroque vision of the delight is turned into what the French call a apache dance - a battle of the sexes depicted as a war dance with a sense of humor.  Pointe shoes, rather than being ethereal, are used as weapons. David Linton's score, one of the firs tot ever use sampling, mixes live music with a recorded track. The musicians not only play a variety of instruments from drums to gongs and keyboards, but also engage in an existential comedy in counterpoint to the dancers. During the duets, the audience sees the couple go form secret mutual interest, to complicity and erotic pleasure followed by settling in with hang-ups and bemusement.

Touring personnel (11): Karole Armitage, Stage Manager, Tech Director, 8 dancers.

Watch excerpt here


Drastic-Classicism (1981/2009)

Original Score: Rhys Chatham, Drastic- Classicism
Lighting Design: Clifton Taylor

Costumes: Peter Speliopoulos and Karen Young
Duration: 25 minutes
Performers: 11 dancers

Drastic-Classicism is one of Armitage’s signature works.  It is performed to Rhys Chatham’s clangorous score by guitarists Steven Gunn, Sarah Lipstate, Tom Gerke 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.” 

Touring personnel (17 with 3 local): Karole Armitage, Rehearsal Director, Tech Director, 3 Musicians with 2 local musicians provided by presenter to complete the ensemble, 11 Dancers.

Watch excerpt here


Connoisseurs of Chaos (2008)

Choreography: Karole Armitage
Music: Morton Feldman, Patterns in a Chromatic Field
Set Design and Video: David Salle
Costumes: Peter Speliopoulos
Lighting Design: Clifton Taylor
Length: 30 Minutes

Connoisseurs of Chaos alternates restless group sections with intimate personal scenes. Each scene is swept up in the swirl of constant change. Morton Feldman, hailing from Brooklyn, does not employ theatrical and psychological devices that characterize the music of Bartok and Ligeti. Instead he speaks of the influence of painting on his composition. “My music takes an allover approach to the time-canvas like a Pollock painting. Recurrent melody serves no structural function. It comes back more as a memory than as something that moves the work along. Situations repeat themselves with subtle change rather than developing. A stasis develops between expectance and its realization. As in a dream there is no release until we wake up, and not because the dream has ended.”

Watch excerpt here


Ligeti Essays (2006)

Choreography: Karole Armitage
Music: György Ligeti\
Set Design: David Salle and Clifton Taylor
Costume Design: Peter Speliopoulos
Lighting Design: Clifton Taylor
Performers: 7 dancers
Total Running Time: 25 minutes

The dance 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. 

Touring personnel (11): Karole Armitage, Stage Manager, Tech Director, 8 dancers.

Watch excerpt here


In this Dream that Dogs Me (2005)

Choreography: Karole Armitage
Music: Annie Gosfield
Design: David Salle
Costumes: Peter Speliopoulous
Lighting: Aaron Copp
Sound Design: Jody Elff
Running Time: 30 minutes

In this Dream that Dogs Me was based on a dance language derived from calligraphy including Chinese characters and the Arabic and Khmer alphabets. Additionally some sections were inspired by the South Central Los Angles street dance known as krumping. The commissioned score by  Annie Gosfield was performed live by four musicians playing sampler, cello, electric guitar and percussion. They interacted with the dancers on stage, both moving in space to create new architectural spaces, and acting as physical agents partnering with the dancers. The environment, designed by David Salle, defined a geometrical space, which the dancers deconstructed, at times incorporating themselves into the landscape, and alternately breaking free. 



Time is the echo of an axe within a wood (2004)

Choreography: Karole Armitage

Music: Bèla Bartók Music for Strings Percussion and Celesta
Costumes: Peter Speliopoulos
Lighting Design: Clifton Taylor

Total Running Time: 30 minutes

Dancers enter and exit through a shimmering, beaded curtain designed by painter, David Salle that surrounds the stage. The curtain heightens a feeling of ambiguity between dream and reality. Time is the echo is concerned with time, not clock time but the way time affects us in dream, memory and daydream. 

Watch excerpt here


Rave  (2001)

Choreography: Karole Armitage
Music: David Shea
Lighting Design: Clifton Taylor
Costumes: Peter Speliopoulos
Performers: 8 AGD dancers and 18 local guest dancers
Total Running Time: 25 minutes

Rave is a celebratory happening mixing dance, capoeira (a Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts, dance, and music), voguing (an underground African-American and custom of social performance and fashion show appropriation begun in Harlem in the 1960s), wushu (Chinese martial arts), and catwalk for 26 dancers in iconic costumes ranging from Marilyn Monroe to an American Indian chief. All of the dancers paint their bodies in bright colors from head to toe – skin is orange, purple, green, gray, blue. Rave is constructed on Vogue Dance twisted through the lens of mixing many different movement forms into a celebration of life as a combination of ball, ballet and carnival for the 21th century.

Rave requires a minimum three-day workshop for 18 local dancers to learn sections of the choreography. This is followed by two days of rehearsal with the full cast prior to a public performance. The teaching residency can be done with the full company present or AG!D can sent a company member ahead to teach the material to local dancers. AG!D provides the costumes for all.

Touring Personnel (11 with 18 local): Karole Armitage, Stage Manager, Tech Director, 8 Dancers.

Watch excerpt here


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