Concept

Karole Armitage

Summary
Karole Armitage (born March 3, 1954) is an American dancer and choreographer currently based in New York City. She is artistic director of Armitage Gone! Dance, a contemporary dance company that performs several times annually in New York City as well as touring internationally. She was dubbed the “punk ballerina” in the 1980s. She earned a Tony nomination for her choreography of the Broadway musical Hair. Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Armitage grew up dividing her time in two places: Gothic, Colorado, and Lawrence, Kansas. Gothic was the site of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory where her father, a biologist, did research. Armitage began studying ballet in Lawrence, Kansas at the age of four with former New York City Ballet dancer Tomi Wortham, followed by classes in Crested Butte, Colorado with Shirley Strabhaur. She then continued her studies with Ballet West in Aspen and Salt Lake City, at the School of American Ballet, the Harkness House in New York City, at North Carolina School of the Arts, and with Léonide Massine in London. Armitage began her professional career in 1973 as a member of the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève in Switzerland. The company, directed by George Balanchine and Patricia Neary, was rooted in the Balanchine aesthetic and devoted exclusively to his repertory. There she performed many Balanchine masterworks including Agon, The Four Temperaments and Serenade. In 1975 she became a Swiss citizen and holds dual citizenship with the US. From 1976 to 1981 she was a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company performing leading roles across the globe. In 1978, she created her first piece Ne, then followed by the iconic Drastic-Classicism in 1981. Throughout the 1980s, Armitage led her own company, which was based in New York City. Her company toured internationally and was known for its collaborations with artists David Salle and Jeff Koons. In 1984, she was invited by Mikhail Baryshnikov to create a work for the American Ballet Theatre. Three years later, Rudolph Nureyev commissioned one of her works for the Paris Opéra Ballet.
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