Karole Armitage, artistic director of the New York–based Armitage Gone! Dance company, is renowned for pushing boundaries to create works that blend dance, music, science, and art to engage in philosophical questions about the search for meaning. Armitage movement looks spontaneous despite its rigorous craftsmanship. Concepts such as “cubism in motion” are applied to group patterns, creating several vantage points so that movement is seen from multiple perspectives, angles, and levels, with planes bleeding into each other. The steps are based on calligraphy and fractal geometry (that of clouds, mountains, seashores), creating a sinuous, curvilinear vocabulary unlike the Euclidian geometry of dance tradition. The dancers share a common purpose but do not dance in unison, producing a funky, democratic individuality with lyricism punctuated by raw, visceral accents.
Armitage is exploring ways to bring the unique point of view of indigenous cultures into contemporary performance, focusing on the Aboriginal culture of the Kimberley region in Australia and selected Plains Indian tribes in the United States. Collaborating with thinkers from inside and outside the academy—including from Haskell Indian Nations University—Armitage will focus on other ways of being, thinking, and orienting the self on the earth.
In March 2015, Armitage collaborated with the Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich and 30 dancers to create On The Nature of Things, a work about climate change in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the first time the museum hosted a performance season.