La MaMa Blogs: 6 Questions: Karole Armitage

Monday, October 2, 2017

6 Questions: Karole Armitage

The world premiere of Karole Armitage's HALLOWEEN UNLEASHED: Dancing Bones, Tasting Darkness and the Skeleton Within comes to The First Floor Theatre on October 27, 2017 for just 8 performances!   Karole took time out from rehearsals for the show to answer our 6 Questions about her inspirations for the show, its musical influences and the film A Ghost Story.  You can read Karole's answers below - and get tickets for HALLOWEEN UNLEASED - appropriate for ages 10 and up!

1. What was the original inspiration for creating HALLOWEEN UNLEASHED: Dancing Bones, Tasting Darkness and the Skeleton Within?

I discovered Walt Disney’s marvelous 1929 animation, The Skeleton Dance, with its extraordinary bond between image and music. The skeletons dance to the great composer Carl Stalling’s delightful score, mixing Grieg and foxtrots. It had such joy and creativity forged in severe discipline and finds a perfect balance of popular culture with the poetic traditions of intellectual, provocative art. It is a little herky-jerky masterpiece. 

I had an intuition that mixing Disney’s Skeleton Dance with the home made surrealism of the Haitian carnival would capture something special - not only the topsy -turvey reversals of power that dancing skeletons and the street theater of Haiti embody, but something about the magical thinking prevalent in American culture today. Halloween Unleashed is a weird, surreal comedy and it reflects the surreal world we find ourselves in with Trump as President. It was born as a protest – seeing art is a haven where one can create a world with the values of a complex, nuanced mind. It acknowledges that we are in surreal times and have to laugh in order to persevere. 

2. What are some of the musical inspirations for the piece?
The music is spunky and driven by wit. New York no wave bands like DNA and Theoretical Girls, Wyclef Jean in his early Haitian inspired dream music followed by hard core David Lang at his most uncompromising. Terry Dame provided new music for several scenes and there are even appearances by Rossini and Fats Waller. Most of the music is joyful and all of it is great.

3. What should audiences expect from HALLOWEEN UNLEASHED?
Fun and something quite unlike anything they have ever seen before. I would call it screwball surrealism. The dancers are a marvel – full of imagination on top of their phenomenal technique. We begin each day with a ballet class taught by one of our several former New York City Ballet teachers and then work for 6 hours daily on the creative process. We use ballet as a liberating force to do whatever it is we want to do with our bodies. Ballet is a great technology for freedom when you use it outside of its conventions. My dancers are fluent in modern dance techniques and street forms ranging from salsa to twerking to kendo. We seek to make it new.

4. What was the last good book you read? (or film/play/art exhibit you saw?)
Gosh so many! But I will cite a film since appropriate to Halloween Unleashed: A Ghost Story. A Ghost Story is a wonderful independent film that won a prize at Telluride. It is surreal and poetic, showing a guy walking around with a sheet over his head that gets deep into the mysteries of love and memory.

5. Who inspires you?
I am mad about Ovid and Lucretius, architecture from Mali, and a lot of pre-Christian art from Italy, Africa and Asia. I find ancient sources in art and literature to be wildly radical in their understanding of what it is to be human.

6. What does working at La MaMa mean to you?
La MaMa represents liberated thinking and artistic daring. It is a haven in the slick world of branding and celebrity, which has infected so much art and culture.


La MaMa presents

Dancing Bones, Tasting Darkness 
and the Skeleton Within 

by Armitage Gone! Dance, New York City
Choreographed by Karole Armitage
Original Commissioned Music by Terry Dame
Music by DNA, Theoretical Girls, Wyclef Jean, Marilyn Manson, David Lang, Fats Waller

October 27 - 29, 2017
Friday: 7pm and 10pm; Saturday: 2pm and 7pm; Sunday: 2pm and 4pm

Tickets: $20 Adults; $15 Students/Seniors/Kids

The First Floor Theatre 
74A East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

For Tickets & Info: CLICK HERE

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