Armitage Gone! Dance NYC Season 2011

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New York Post Article
On Edge 'Punk Ballerina' Pushes Boundaries

Karole Armitage and her contemporary ballet company Armitage Gone! Dance to present two evenings of works at New York City’s Joyce Theatre, 8th Avenue and 19th Street from April 26 thru May 8, 2011.

PROGRAM A
Apr 26 7:30pm; Apr 29 8pm; Apr 30 2pm; May 4 7:30pm; May 5 8pm; May 7 8pm; May 8 2pm

GAGA-Gaku (World Premiere)
A new work by Armitage that brings her dancers together with young ballerinas from the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble.  Gagaku is the ancient court music of Japan 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 Vierk is a student of gagaku and her music translates the ancient form into a caffeinated, trans-cultural ride. The costumes by 132 5. ISSEY MIYAKE, developed by Miyake and his Reality Lab team, are both a new label and a new evolution of his design concept. The process by which the clothing is made is groundbreaking, using a mathematical algorithm: first, a variety of three- dimensional shapes are conceived in collaboration with a computer scientist; then, these shapes are folded into two dimensional forms with pre-set cutting lines that determine their finished shape; and finally, they are heat-pressed, to yield folded shirts, skirts, dresses etc. These clothes are significant not only for the process by which they were made but because they are also made using recycled PET products, sometimes in combination with other recycled fibers.


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 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.”

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PROGRAM B
Apr 27 7:30pm; Apr 28 8pm; Apr 30 8pm; May 1 2pm; May 3 7:30pm; May 6 8pm; May 7 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.”

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ABOUT THE COMPANY

ARMITAGE GONE! DANCE was formed in 2001 when Karole Armitage returned to the U.S. after 15 years of working in Europe. For the first two years, the company created one production annually for seven dancers. In 2004 this culminated in the creation of the company’s acclaimed ballet, Time is the echo of an axe within a wood. Armitage Gone! Dance was officially launched in 2005 with an unprecedented three-week season at The Duke on 42nd Street Theater, followed by a commissioned dance for Works & Process at The Guggenheim Museum. The excitement generated by these engagements led to performances in Italy, France, Mexico and then to tours throughout the United States and Europe for the next several years.  In 2010 the company added dancers to become the eleven- member company of today. Karole Armitage formed her first company, Armitage Gone! in New York City in 1979 to critical acclaim. The company toured to festivals and venues worldwide, taking the name The Armitage Ballet in 1985, to perform works in collaboration with visual artists David Salle and Jeff Koons. Throughout the 1990’s, Ms. Armitage chose to maintain her company on a project basis while accepting commissions from European ballet and opera companies. The Joyce season of 2011 celebrates the ten-year crescendo of the company’s work.

KAROLE ARMITAGE (Artistic Director) 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. Armitage is inspired by disparate, non-narrative sources, from twentieth-century physics, to sixteenth-century Florentine fashion, to pop culture and new media. In her hands, the classical dance vocabulary is given a needed shock to its system with speed and fractured lines, abstractions, and symmetry countermanded by asymmetry.

 

Photos by: Julieta Cervantes


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