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Choreographer Karole Armitage

Dancer/choreographer Karole Armitage, previously known as the "Punk Ballerina" talks with Steve Kraske about her work.

By Up to Date, April 2, 2009


Kansas City , Mo. – Karole Armitage, a native of Lawrence, Kan., is known throughout the world as one of the leading choreographers of her generation. Once known as the "Punk Ballerina", she discusses her synthesis of punk rock culture with modern dance and ballet styles which has led to creations for numerous companies and individuals including Madonna, Michael Jackson, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Jeff Koons, Christian Lacroix, and Mikhail Baryshnikov.

The Spring Performance of the Kansas City Ballet will feature her World Premiere piece set to Cantus Arcticus, op 651 by Einojuhani Rautavaara.

Armitage began her career dancing George Balanchine's choreography as a member of Ballet du Grand Th??tre de Gen?ve. After joining Merce Cunningham's troupe in the late 1970s, she formed her own dance ensemble. She began to receive international notice as a dancer/choreographer in the early 1980s with a series of modern dances accompanied by punk rock music. Recent collaborators include British composer Thomas Ad?s and American artist Jeff Koons. Over the last twenty-five years, Armitage has had the opportunity to work with a wide range of artists, from the pop star Madonna, to filmmakers Merchant and Ivory, to painter David Salle, to fashion designer Christian Lacroix and composer, Gy?rgy Ligeti. Known for choreographing "Vogue" for Madonna and "In the Closet" for Michael Jackson, her choice of both music and movement for the premiere piece is certain to energize audiences. She is currently the Artistic Director of Armitage Gone! Dance, a company she founded in 2005. She was recently honored with France's most prestigious award, the Commandeur dans L'ordre des Arts et des Lettres, in recognition of significant contributions to the arts or literature. Currently, she has choregraphed a new production of HAIR, which opens on Broadway this spring after a smash-hit run at Central Park's Delacorte Theatre last summer.