Armitage Gone! Dance Presents MECHANICS OF THE DANCE MACHINE, 1/31-2/9
Karole Armitage returns to New York Live Arts with the world premiere of Mechanics of the Dance Machine, her first presentation at the venue since the premiere of her groundbreaking work Drastic-Classicism at Dance Theater Workshop in 1981. Set to selections of Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra, an urban symphony by DJ/composer Gabriel Prokofiev (grandson of Sergei Prokofiev), Mechanics of the Dance Machine mixes pointe work with fractal geometry, improvisation and contemporary practices. Armitage will invite the audience onstage to experience the movement up close. Lighting cues will guide the audience as the work expands from gripping duets to pulsing group works.
Performances of Mechanics of the Dance Machine will take place January 31 – February 9 (see schedule above) at New York Live Arts. The running time is approximately one hour with no intermission. New York Live Arts is located at 219 West 19th Street in Manhattan. Tickets, which are $40 ($15 students/seniors), are available at newyorklivearts.org and 212.924.0077.
Mechanics of the Dance Machine will alternate between electric, fierce dance on the one hand, and metaphors of intimacy and its unfinished business on the other. The audience will follow 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 will become increasing complex as the dance unfolds. Audience members can stand, walk or sit in reserved seats, depending on preference. The evolving checkerboard patterns seen from seats will provide rich geometrical designs as dancers move inside the unconventional frames and oddly shaped spaces.
The movement of Mechanics of the Dance Machine continues Armitage’s unique mix of pointe and non-pointe work with fractal geometry (the shapes of mountains and clouds), improvisation, and contemporary practices. Using nostalgic fragments of Bach in addition to material from Prokofiev’s Concerto for Turntable and Orchestra, Mechanics of the Dance Machine explores a new framework for expressive movement suffused with eroticism, fertile impurities, improper hybrids and unexpected idiosyncrasies, including DNA from the Swan Lake port de bras, experienced from multiple perspectives.
The idea of bringing the audience onstage came to Armitage while choreographing David Adjmi’s Marie Antoinette. During the 18th century, the court at Versailles was given the privilege of watching Marie Antoinette dress, eat, play and sleep. This voyeuristic thrill inspired Armitage to create a new work that allowed the audience to observe the ferocious concentration of dancers.
Mechanics of the Dance Machine features performances by the Armitage Gone! Dance company—Ahmaud Culver, Daniel L. Moore, Lourdes Rodriguez, Abbey Roesner, Jeffrey C. Sousa, Emily Wagner, Masayo Yamaguchi and in her final season with the company, founding member Megumi Eda. Guests include Christian LaVerde Koenig and Matthew Prescott along with special appearances by dancers from Brazil, Mexico, Sicily and New York City who have participated in the Armitage Gone! Professional Project, an annual workshop for young professional dancers. In the Professional Project, dancers pursue rigorous technical training and a demanding conceptual education by actively participating in the creative process with the company dancers. A select group of alumni are invited to perform with the company as the culmination of the Professional Project.