New Contemporary Ballet Tree of Codes to Make U.S. Premiere at Park Avenue Armory this September
New York, NY (May 28, 2015) A major new and immersive contemporary ballet—collaboratively imagined by choreographer Wayne McGregor, visual artist Olafur Eliasson, and award-winning producer/composer Jamie xx—makes its U.S. premiere at Park Avenue Armory this September. Inspired by Jonathan Safran Foer’s enigmatic and eponymous novel, Tree of Codes distorts conventional perceptions of space and time, through manipulation of light, reflection, sound, and movement. The work will be performed by a company of soloists and dancers from the Paris Opera Ballet and Company Wayne McGregor.
“At the Armory, we are always encouraging artists to push the limits of their specific disciplines. Wayne McGregor, Olafur Eliasson and Jaime xx are each pioneers in their respective fields, and their collective vision for Tree of Codes asks us to bend our pre-conceived notions of traditional ballet and also the world around us,” said Rebecca Robertson, President and Executive Producer of Park Avenue Armory. “We are thrilled to once again animate the drill hall with the intense beauty of dance, and to offer our audiences the opportunity to connect with the art form in new and exciting ways.”
Fusing storytelling and sculpture, and blurring definitions of time and space, Jonathan Safran Foer’s original work is at once a novel and a piece of art, created by carving words and phrases from Bruno Schulz’s collection of short stories The Street of Crocodiles to arrive at a new narrative that explores a person’s last day of life. Utilizing this imagery and Foer’s merging of genres as a point of departure, Tree of Codes will feature a site-specific environment by Olafur Eliasson that warps audience perception from the moment they enter the drill hall through the contortion of reflection, color, and prisms of light. Fifteen dancers, performing to an original score by Jamie xx, will interact with and respond to the environment. Further echoing and enhancing the themes of space and time, the audience will at once be intimately engaged with the dancers and immersed in the historic drill hall.
The Armory’s 2015 season encompasses site-specific installations, commissions, and cross-disciplinary collaborations across a range of art forms. Forthcoming programs in the Armory’s soaring Wade Thompson Drill Hall include a monumental, multi-sensory journey orchestrated by French artist Philippe Parreno that transforms the traditional exhibition experience through the interplay of film, sculpture, and the spectral presence of light and sound; a commission of performance art by Laurie Anderson; and an immersive interpretation of J. S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations by pianist Igor Levit and performance artist Marina Abramovi.
Tree of Codes is the Armory’s second dance premiere of the 2015 season following the March opening of FLEXN—an evolution of the Brooklyn-born street dance flex co-directed by Peter Sellars and dance pioneer Reggie (Regg Roc) Gray. Previous dance engagements include the final performances of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Trisha Brown Dance Company’s iconic Astral Converted, the world premiere of Shen Wei Dance Arts’ Undivided Divided, and Streb Extreme Action’s Kiss the Air!.