Armitage Gone! Dance

March 2, 2004

Armitage Gone! Dance

The Joyce Theater
March 2-7, 2004

Reviewed by Gus Solomons jr


The curiously punctuated company Armitage Gone! Dance has come back! Karole Armitage dubbed the “punk ballerina” of the ’80s for loud accompaniments and violent dancing, assembled a group of stunning dancers for her return to New York. Her new hour-long Time is the echo of an axe within a wood tosses ballet, gay-club dancing, and yoga into a provocative stew that has moments of genuine inventiveness, like odd lifts, unlikely juxtapositions, and a uniquely subdued, angular duet, beautifully danced by Brian Chung and Cheryl Sladkin.


Set to musical selections as disparate as Bart’k, Gavin Bryars, Annie Gosfield, and Charles Ives, the ballet progresses from acrobatic neoclassicism through moody expressionism, to an exhilarating freak show that introduces vogue contortionists (Mecca, Aviance Milan, and Bendeleon), and a yogini (Sharmila Desai) into the mix.


The sides and rear of the stage are hung with a crystal bead curtain by Armitage’s long-time visual collaborator, artist David Salle, a less elegant version of a similar one by Jan Versweyveld for Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker’s Rain. Dancers, clad in skin-toned, metallic leotards by Peter Speliopoulous, burst through the strands to enter and exit in Clifton Taylor’s crisp architectural lighting.


During lithe Megumi Eda’s lush, leggy opening solo, dynamic Theresa Ruth Howard flies onstage in a series of split leaps, propelled by Leone Barilli, whose classic line accentuates his wonderful quirkiness. Later, William Isaac��tall, big, and wild, small but quick Leonides D. Arpon, and gorgeously articulate Valerie Madonia also get to show off their high technical skills. However spectacular the dancing is, in the end it neither moves nor enlightens you, and the echo of an axe within a wood sounds like one hand clapping.