Energy Made Visible
Choreography: Karole Armitage
Music Composed & Performed by: Bobby Watson
Assistant to the Choreographer: Emily Wagner
Costume Design: Jennifer Carroll
Lighting Design: Kirk Bookman
Projection Design: Gilles Papain
Design Assistant: Brad Peterson
Energy Made Visible is inspired by the painting of the 20th-century American artist, Jackson Pollock. I see Pollock as a metaphor for the creative process. Pollock’s “all-over” abstractions appear to fuse opposites: lyrical and violent, cathartic and obsessive, ethereal and visceral. Present in my work are similar themes and methods. During the last 10 years, my choreography has been deeply influenced by Asian calligraphy and fractal geometry, resulting in a sinuous, curvilinear vocabulary and the notion of an “all-over” contrapuntal, use of space with simultaneous activity occurring throughout the stage. I grew up in a wilderness area of Colorado during much of my childhood just as Pollock grew up in the Western U.S. At a young age, I identified with the scale and emotion of Pollock’s painting, feeling a deep connection to a uniquely American experience.
I find expressivity through pure movement rather than through story or illustration.
The formal and emotional elements are similar to Pollock’s dancing lines of poured paint,
thrown standing up as he moved around the edge of the canvas laying on the floor. Pollock
has said, “the source of my painting and drawing is the unconscious… that is direct. When
I am painting, I am not much aware of what is taking place—it is only after that I see what I have done.” Dance, improvised live music by Bobby Watson and interactive video projections of Pollock ink drawings brought to life by designer Gilles Papain, with lighting by Kirk Bookman will convey the experience from blank canvas to a finished work. This unfolding of a process before the audience’s eyes will demonstrate the mixture of control and accident that produces an artwork. Emotional expression, pure visual energy and metaphors suggesting how much we do and do not control our lives are implicit in the process. However, this is written before the choreography has begun and, like Pollock, I feel that much of what an artwork becomes is only discovered in the making of it.
- Notes by Karole Armitage
World Premiere: Kansas City Ballet, May 3, 2013, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.