Archive for Sunday, September 19, 1999


September 19, 1999


A choreographer with Lawrence ties is working with Mikhail Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Project and getting good reviews by The New York Times.

Karole Armitage, the daughter of Lawrence residents Kenneth and Katie Armitage, choreographed "The Last Lap," a world premiere performed by Baryshnikov and five women dancers in mid-August at the New Victory Theater in Times Square in New York City.

Costumes were designed by another Kansan, former Wichitan David Salle.

"'The Last Lap' has a prettiness that is unexpected, given Ms. Armitage's signature spiky astringency, but that matches the lushness of the excerpts from Shostakovich's 'Quintet for Piano and Strings' to which it is set," Times dance critic Jennifer Dunning wrote. "The piece is a flowing series of encounters and juxtapositions of the five women's bodies, presences and movement qualities. Mr. Baryshnikov winds his way through as a figure, first composed and then strangely tortured, who serves as an anchor to the gentle tumult."

In addition to the comments about Armitage's choreography, Dunning's article featured five photos from "The Last Lap."

After studying dance in Lawrence and at the University of Missouri Conservatory in Kansas City, Mo., Armitage left Lawrence as a high school student to study at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, according to her mother. She also studied at the University of Utah and in London before getting her first professional dancing job at age 19 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Armitage then studied with choreographer Merce Cunningham in New York City and later founded her own dance company, her mother said. In 1986, Baryshnikov asked her to work with him at the American Ballet Theatre at the Lincoln Center in New York City. In 1989, she began working for a dance company in Florence, Italy.

She returned to New York in January and reconnected with Baryshnikov, who asked her to choreograph a work for the White Oak Dance Project's program at the New Victory Theater.

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