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 Post subject: Karole Armitage Comes with Her Two Latest Ballets
PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 4:18 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 6883
Location: El Granada, CA, USA

Becket, MA-Bringing what The New York Times called "one of the most
beautiful dances to be seen in New York in a very long time," Armitage Gone!
Dance comes to the Doris Duke Studio Theatre August 3-6. By mixing fiercely
technical ballet moves with an emotional, atmospheric insight into the
future of dance, Karole Armitage has gained acclaim as one of the leading
movement artists of her generation, with work known for its diverse
influences and seamlessly incorporated visions. A former dancer for George
Balanchine and Merce Cunningham, she's worked on Merchant-Ivory films,
choreographed music videos for Madonna and Michael Jackson, directed operas
and ballets throughout Europe, and routinely calls on leading artists, set
designers, and composers to collaborate on her anything-but-routine works.
Now, having decided to return to America from Europe in 2005 based on the
strength of a brief New York foray, Armitage brings two of her latest works:
Time is the echo of an axe within a wood (which earned from Jennifer Dunning
the quote above) and In this dream that dogs me. In related free events,
Armitage Gone! Dance previews work on the Pillow's Inside/Out stage,
Wednesday, August 2 at 6:30pm, and Karole Armitage participates in a
PillowTalk on Saturday, August 5 at 4:00pm. For a glimpse of the
choreography of Karole Armitage, watch the 2006 season overview video at

Performance and Ticket Information for Armitage Gone! Dance: Evening
performances are Thursday, August 3 through Saturday, August 5 at 8:15pm,
with matinées on Saturday, August 5 at 2:15pm and Sunday, August 6 at 5pm.
Tickets are $24 each, with a 10% discount available for seniors, students,
and youth age 13 and under. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Box
Office at 413.243.0745, faxing orders to 413.243.0749, or ordering online at Jacob's Pillow is located on George Carter Road in
Becket, MA, 10 minutes east on Route 20 from Mass Pike Exit 2.

In 2004,Time is the echo of an axe within a wood was the first work Armitage
showed in New York City; its outstanding reception there strengthened her
resolve to officially reconstitute her company in this country. Its title
is drawn from a poem by Philip Larkin (as is the second work on this
program) whose lines read in part: "This is the first thing/I have
understood/Time is the echo of an axe/Within a wood." In true Armitage
style, the full work features a tapestry of music by diverse composers,
ranging from the classical folk innovator Béla Bartók to Charles Ives and
contemporary classical artists Gavin Byars and frequent Armitage
collaborator Annie Gosfield. (The excerpt seen here shows the portion set to
Bartók's moody Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta.) With movement
concepts rooted both in the gut and the brain, the work, the company notes,
"explores the tension between grace and a world out of joint. The theme of
time, both psychological and physical, is a constant. The work moves
between dream-, memory-, and clock-time." Rounding out the piece's
disorienting sense of fluidity and disconnection are hazy atmospherics by
noted lighting designer Clifton Taylor and a dramatic backdrop by David
Salle, the major abstract-expressionist painter and longtime collaborator on
Armitage's projects. Of particular note are the diversely gifted dancers,
who exhibit a clearly intuitive intelligence and finely honed technique.
With credits from companies including Lines Ballet, Dutch National Ballet,
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and Dance Theatre of Harlem, these
dancers seem to have been born specifically for Armitage's rangy,
loose-limbed explorations of space and physical decisions that mandate
lightning-fast reflexes.

>From 2005 and also shown here in excerpts, In this dream that dogs me was
Armitage's first creation upon her formal return to America. She initially
intended for it to show inspiration from calligraphy. Later, as the piece
developed, the overt references to calligraphy were de-emphasized in favor
of a sinuous use of the body's line and a flicking style of movement that
appears to mimic Asian brushwork. This work too is set to music by Annie
Gosfield, whose delirious score mixes classical, warm harmonies with brash,
industrial accents. The choreographer has noted that this work is an
attempt to make real, however fleetingly, the spontaneous combustibility of
communication, whether physical, verbal, or written. Following the work's
premiere in 2005, Deborah Jowitt of the Village Voice wrote, "Armitage
follows a path cleared by George Balanchine in his 1957 Agon, expanding the
range of the dancers' highly articulated limbs. She presents the performers
as molten steel cooling into stunning shapes, yet also reminds us that
they're not clones of a technique but individuals, with minds, moods, and
imperfections of their own."

Karole Armitage's career, like her choreography, is remarkable for its
fearlessness and concentrated diversity. From Lawrence, Kansas, Armitage
trained earliest with a former member of New York City Ballet, from whom she
learned a number of George Balanchine's works when she was still quite
young. After studying with Ballet West when the company and school were
based in Aspen (she crossed the Rockies on foot from Crested Butte to get
there-and did the reverse to get home three weeks later), she attended the
School of American Ballet, the training ground for Balanchine's New York
City Ballet. After joining a company in Switzerland also founded by
Balanchine, the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève, she danced his
masterworks until 1975. The next year, she began performing with the Merce
Cunningham Dance Company, where she stayed for six years. From the
choreography that she then developed, it became clear that she had absorbed
Cunningham's sensitive iconoclasm. Like that master, she too was merging
classic Western concepts-balletic movement on a proscenium stage-with
philosophies, music, and aesthetics which showed her determination to take
the Western canon head-on. Very soon, she earned a landslide of critical
attention, notably a multi-page spread in Vanity Fair branding her the "punk
ballerina." In 1981, her second
major effort, Drastic Classicism, led to the same phrase being used to
describe her style: fierce, thrusting exaggerations of ballet often set to
hyper-classical works or music otherwise alien to concert dance-punk rock,
Karlheinz Stockhausen, Jimi Hendrix, and Rhys Chatham among them.

Her collaborators aside from David Salle (to whom she was once married),
have included the late composer Gyorgi Ligeti and fashion designer Jean Paul
Gaultier. On their films The Golden Bowl and The White Countess, famed
filmmakers Ismail Merchant and James Ivory asked Armitage to contribute
choreography. Costumes, sets, and lights for a number of Armitage's works
in the mid-1980s were by Charles Atlas, the pioneering visual artist who
appears at the Pillow this summer as part of Richard Move's collaborative
project MoveOpolis!. Additional Armitage credits include The Mollino Room,
a work commissioned for American Ballet Theatre by its then-director Mikhail
Baryshnikov and choreography for the music videos to Madonna's "Vogue" and
Michael Jackson's "In the Closet." The Tarnished Angels, danced to music by
Charles Mingus, was commissioned by Rudolf Nureyev in 1987 for his Paris
Opera Ballet.

For fifteen years following her departure from New York, Armitage directed
ballets for the leading dance companies in Italy and France and operas for
major theatres throughout the continent. In 2004, she was director of the
dance portion of the Venice Biennale. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship
for Choreography in 1986, was made a Chevalier in France's Order of Arts and
Letter in 1992, and was made an Officer of the same order ten years later.

Free Events at the Pillow This Week
PillowTalks in Blake's Barn: Wednesday, August 2 at 5pm, three acclaimed
dance photographers-Basil Childers, Philip Trager, and Pillow
Photographer-in-Residence Mike van Sleen-come together to talk about their
photos, discuss current projects in America and Europe, and provide an
inside view of the dance photography field. On Saturday, August 5 at 4pm,
Karole Armitage catches audiences up on her current doings since returning
from Europe.

Inside/Out performances at 6:30pm: Wednesday, August 2, Armitage Gone! Dance
makes its Pillow debut in Karole Armitage's fascinating explorations of
ballet's potential. Thursday, August 3, the gifted young Seattleite Zoe
Scofield shows the products of her outlandish imagination and fruitful
collaborations. Janis Brenner & Dancers shows work cited by New York Times
for "free-wheeling motion and rooted emotional intensity," Friday, August 4.
Saturday, August 5, participants of The School's Jazz program show repertory
by Fosse's Chet Walker and others.

Ongoing Free Events include: Ted Shawn First, the first overview exhibition
ever mounted at the Pillow on the Festival's influential founder, in Blake's
Barn; Philip Trager: A Pillow Retrospective, featuring insightful
images from this master of portraiture, in the Ted Shawn Theatre lobby;
Basil Childers, with work from a
rising star of the international dance photography scene, in the Doris Duke
Studio Theatre lobby; Picturing Shawn, a survey of two-dimensional
depictions of the man by diverse artists, in the Reading Room at Blake's
Barn; and the latest Highlights of the Collection, on view in the venerable
Bakalar Studio whenever rehearsals and classes are not in session.


Jacob's Pillow is located in the town of Becket in the Berkshire Hills of
Western Massachusetts. The Pillow was originally the Carter family farm in
the 1700s, and in the 1800s served as a station on the Underground Railroad.
Its pioneering spirit was furthered in 1933, when legendary dancer, teacher,
and choreographer Ted Shawn founded the Festival as a showcase for his
company of Men Dancers and as a home for dance in the U.S.

Jacob's Pillow now encompasses an acclaimed international Festival (the
first and longest-running dance festival in the U.S.), a professional
School, rare and extensive Archives open to the public free of charge, an
Intern Program, year-round Community Programs, and a Creative Development
Residency program. The historic site includes 161 acres, 31 buildings,
three unique stages (including the first theater in the U.S. built
specifically for dance), three dance studios, exhibition spaces,
restaurants, the Pillow Store, residential housing, administrative offices,
a health center, gardens, trails, and woodlands.

The Pillow presents dance from all over the world in all forms, styles, and
traditions, plus approximately 200 free events each season, including
performances, lectures, tours, film showings, exhibits, and talks with
artists from all over the world, which attract approximately 80,000 visitors

Pillow Founder Ted Shawn was instrumental in beginning the careers of Martha
Graham and Jack Cole, and the Pillow has continued this mentoring role by
providing early opportunities to artists such as Alvin Ailey, José Limón,
and Mark Morris. Companies such as Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Parsons
Dance Company have been seen at the Pillow for the first time anywhere, and
international groups such as The Royal Danish Ballet and Nederlands Dans
Theater have made their U.S. debuts here. World premieres have been
commissioned from masters such as Merce Cunningham and Paul Taylor, and
legendary artists such as Margot Fonteyn and Mikhail Baryshnikov have been
showcased in new works.

In 2003, Jacob's Pillow was declared a National Historic Landmark by the
federal government as "an exceptional cultural venue that holds value for
all Americans." It is the first and only dance entity in the U.S. to
achieve this honor. The Pillow looks forward to celebrating its 75th
anniversary in 2007, and has launched its first endowment campaign, The Fund
for Jacob's Pillow, to help ensure its eminence and longevity for others to
enjoy in years to come.

Major support for Jacob's Pillow, as of April 2006, has been provided by:
The Dana Foundation; The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation; Francis Alexander
Family Fund; The Harkness Foundation for Dance; The William and Flora
Hewlett Foundation; The Leir Charitable Trusts in memory of Henry J. Leir;
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Mertz Gilmore Foundation; Evelyn Stefansson
Nef Foundation; The William J. and Dorothy K. O'Neill Foundation; The
Prospect Hill Foundation; The Ira M. Resnick Foundation; The Ridgefield
Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; The Starr Foundation;
Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency; National Endowment for the
Arts; U.S. Department of Education; ALEX®; Altria Group, Inc.; American
Express Philanthropic Program, Ameriprise Financial, Inc.; Berkshire Bank
Foundation; Canon, U.S.A., Inc.; TD Banknorth Charitable Foundation; The
Pillow Business Alliance; and Jacob's Pillow Members.

Jacob's Pillow is funded in part by the National Dance Project of the New
England Foundation for the Arts, with lead funding from Doris Duke
Charitable Foundation. Additional funding provided by The Ford Foundation
and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Major endowment support is provided by The Barrington Foundation, Inc.; The
William Randolph Hearst Foundation; Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state
agency; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Onota Foundation; The Prospect Hill
Foundation; and the Talented Students in the Arts Initiative, a
collaboration of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Surdna
Foundation; and Jacob's Pillow Members.

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