about Mary Armentrout
upcoming performances & events
past projects
dance discourse project

Mary Armentrout

full reviews and other writings about MADT

listening creates an opening
interview with Sima Belmar in In Dance 4/15/19

listening creates an opening
curator's progam note Ashley Ferro-Murray 9/16

reveries and elegies Volume TWO
by Sarah Burke in the East Bay Express 5/20/15

fantasia upon...
by Rita Felciano in Dance View Autumn 2014

fantasia upon...
by Heather Desaulniers in Critical Dance 9/14/14

reveries and elegies
by Heather Desaulniers in Critical Dance 12/12

reveries and elegies
SPEAK: an ever-larger disappearing act by Mary Armentrout in In Dance 11/1/12

the woman invisible to herself
by Heather Desaulniers in Critical Dance 7/10/11

the woman insivisible to herself
by Heather Desaulniers in Critical Dance 9/19/10

the woman invisible to herself
by Michelle Devera in the SF Chronicle 9/23/10

'Women and War' at Highways Performance Space
by Sara Wolf in LA Times 3/24/08

Dancing Our Emptiness
by Charlotte Shoemaker in DanceViewTimes, 11/14/05

Tumbling in Her Pursuit of Truth
by Christopher Correa in DanceViewTimes 8/9/04

and find more recent reading material on the upcoming page!

press picks and quotes

"Looking at its title, fantasia upon the moment when the woman invisible to herself and the man who isn't sure whether he wants to exist yet or not decide to go in on an apartment together, it would fair to think that choreographer Mary Armentrout has a tendency towards long-windedness. Nothing could be further from the truth. However, Armentrout works on slippery ground where you are never quite sure what the next moment will bring. Choreographically, that means an organic use of the theatrical language - music, dance, space, design and time - that is at both rigorous and highly individual. fantasia builds on one of Armentrout's key concerns - identity as an ongoing process that fluidly constructs and remakes our sense of self. Here she takes the idea one step further, examining a longtime relationship that is defined by love - whatever that is."
- Rita Felciano, "Critic's Pick" The SF Bay Guardian, 9/9/14

"LOST AND FOUND Every blink of the sun into the horizon brings an opportunity to meditate on change. Change is the slippery basis for Mary Armentrout's wandering site-specific performance installation, reveries and elegies, showing every weekend this month at sundown before it crosses the globe to Roehampton University in London. Armentrout experiments with the notion of the lonely figure in "extreme landscapes," using sonic compositions by Pamela Z and Evelyn Ficarra that discover scores in the sentence: "life is so strange." Armentrout invites the audience to ponder the fixity of craft and the modifications of circumstance, the self and the stranger in the solo figure, the effects of choice on experience, and the possibility of repetition in a changing environment. Ian Winters' video installation, reverie of dislocation/perambulation, will be shown in conjunction."
-Irene Hsiao, SF Weekly, 1/1/14

"Anyone lucky enough to catch Mary Armentrout's reveries and elegies last season knows what a master she is at mixing video, spoken word, music, doorways, dusk, birthday cakes, and movement into riveting performance. Luckily for those who missed it, she will remount reveries in her space at the MilkBar (851 81st Ave., #223, Oakland), in the Sunshine Biscuit Factory every Saturday and Sunday in January. But even if you've seen reveries, you haven't seen this one - an exploration of life's fragmentary, impermanent nature, the piece changes every time Armentrout performs it, and adapts to each of the many spaces it has occupied. In any configuration, it's performance art at its most intelligent, humorous, engaging, and beautiful. Performances are timed with dusk, so don't be late or you'll miss the magic hour. And dress warmly, as the space is unheated. Seating is limited to 25 people each night, and tickets are available in advance only."
- Claudia Bauer, East Bay Express, 1/1/14

"Mary Armentrout Dance Theater's site-specific reveries and elegies is also solar- and lunar-specific: its variable show schedule is timed to coincide with sundown. But that's not to say the show is harnessed to the clock; in fact, the artist describes it as "a shifting, wandering installation" that deals with difficult-to-simplify themes of "change, loss, and dislocation." Armentrout has performed the experimental, exploratory reveries in various locations - since its 2012 premiere, the work has journeyed between local "venues" like Baker Beach and Temescal Alley, plus made a visit to Louisiana. But these current shows are of particular significance, since they'll all take place in Armentrout's home-turf studio space. Capacity is just 25, so make sure you pick up tickets beforehand via Brown Paper Tickets."
-Cheryl Eddy, SF Bay Guardian, 12/31/13

"Old Will wasn't exactly thinking about installation pieces when he proclaimed, "all the world's a stage." Still there is something about the connection between "living" and "performing" that today many dance artists explore by stretching that fragile tie between the two. One way is by abandoning the proscenium theater for more flexible environments. Few, however, go as far as the ever adventuresome Mary Armentrout who is traveling her "reveries and elegies," essentially a solo piece for herself, from two Oakland locations first to CounterPULSE this weekend, then (Feb 23-24) to Baker Beach. Each time she shows these "reveries," she will do the same, of course, not at all. Ideally one would see the whole cycle but since Armentrout has assembled the piece from fragments, fragments is what we'll get. And that's ok."
-Rita Felciano, SF Bay Guardian, 1/8/13

"If you missed last year's premiere of Mary Armentrout's quirky, intimate, and widely hailed show The Woman Invisible to Herself, you're in luck: The multimedia contemporary dance-theater performance returns to Milk Bar (851 81st Ave., Studio 223, Oakland) Friday through Sunday, July 1-3, as well as July 8-10 and 15-17. Wear layers and get ready to move, because Oakland-based Armentrout leads her audience through rooms, out a window, and up onto the roof - choreography one might expect from an artist who goes where few others are willing to tread. The show is billed as a solo, but the title role is shared by stellar dancers Natalie Greene, Frances Rosario, and Nol Simonse on different nights. Last year's performances sold out, so buy tickets early, and be sure to arrive thirty minutes early for the pre-show installation. 7:15 p.m."
- Claudia Bauer, East Bay Express, 7/1/11

"Leave your preconceptions at the door and follow contemporary dance artist Mary Armentrout around the MilkBar (Sunshine Biscuit Complex, 851 81st St. #223, Oakland) -- up and down stairs, through a tunnel, and onto the roof -- while she subverts concepts of identity and theater in her autobiographical performance the woman invisible to herself. Armentrout's past shows have incorporated spoken word, stuffed animals, and trash, so there's no telling what to expect along the way. Promised elements include original sound by Pamela Z, Evelyn Ficarra, and Merlin Coleman; video by Ian Winters; and Armentrout, Natalie Greene, Frances Rosario, or Nol Simonse in the title role. The show begins at sundown each weekend: Sept. 25-26 at 6:15 and Oct. 2-3 at 6 p.m., with a preshow installation thirty minutes before curtain."
-Claudia Bauer, East Bay Express, 9/22/10

"Mary Armentrout is a choreographer of keen perception and sharp intelligence. As an artist, her pieces are witty and wonderfully theatrical - yet they also explore important ideas. Unfortunately, she is not very prolific, so this premiere should be a real treat. The site-specific "the woman invisible to herself" explores issues around identity even as it questions the very nature of performance - as a state of being and as a theatrical practice. Armentrout structured woman as a solo for herself - and for Natalie Green, Nol Simonse, and Frances Rosario. It will be performed for small audiences at sunset in and around her studio, the Milkbar in East Oakland."
- Rita Felciano, "Critic's Pick" The SF Bay Guardian, 9/15/10

"Should you happen to visit Mary Armentrout's Web site, be prepared for a mess. I don't mean teenage-bedroom mess. No, this is serious. Greeting you on her Contact page will be the detritus of what looks like a major earthquake. But then, that's what Armentrout is all about. She ambles through life's leftovers and finds humor, poignancy, or, at the very least, an excuse to make something new out of them. I mean, who else would start a salon in a former biscuit factory across the street from the Mother's Cookies factory and call it Milk Bar? (Armentrout is also the force behind CounterPULSE's series of conversations about dance on second Sundays.) Her sense of humor is as much verbal as visual and kinetic. But behind that facade of mirthful disdain and nonchalance is a finely honed sensibility that manages - or at least attempts - to reconcile some of life's more complicated conundrums, often in regard to relationships. Armentrout works on a small, intimate scale. Maybe that's why, although she has been lurking on the periphery of Bay Area dance for nearly a decade, her work is not better known." 
- Rita Felciano, "Critic's Pick" The SF Bay Guardian, 10/31/07

"Mary Armentrout is a performance artist of tremendous range. She utilizes body language as well as verbal acuity: both vocabularies are so carefully attuned and so delicately melded, she seems to be inventing a new kind of dance theatre before our eyes. It's exhausting to behold, and clearly it's difficult to achieve..." 
- Christopher Correa, DanceViewTimes, 8/9/04

"Mary Armentrout's dance-theater takes place in the fertile ground where dance, performance, imagery, theater, music, social commentary and personal idiosyncrasies all meet. I first say her work several years ago and have been drawn since then to her wit, her inventive and unconventional movement and imagery, and her skill at going beneath the surface to the collective insecurity and awkwardness that we so often hide." 
- Charlotte Shoemaker, DanceViewTimes, 11/14/05

"Armentrout looks at the universe through cracked glasses that allow her to see relationships and physical forces in a way that throws logic out a speeding car's window - but lets in the dust, detritus, and leftover flavors of human nuttiness and fallibility. And she does it in a manner that's completely her own and entertaining if you just listen and look carefully enough." 
- Rita Felciano, "Critic's Pick" The SF Bay Guardian, 7/28/04

"Each of these characters is as fully realized as one out of Pinter's playbook. The trick is, they're all the same person-or rather, they are all portrayed by one Mary Armentrout. As evinced by her "dance theater installation," titled "Solo Musings on Complicated Topics in a Surreal World," the schizophrenic manifestations that occupied little Sally Field in "Sybil" have nothing on the prism of personalities swirling around in Armentrout's head." 
- Christopher Correa, DanceViewTimes, 8/9/04

"... a quirky, idiosyncratic choreographer who assembles works that appear illogical on the surface - but somehow her twisted humor, comic timing, and odd use of furniture and bodies coalesce into meaningful dance." 
- Rita Felciano, East Bay Monthly, 9/04

"Mary Armentrout can look like she's up to little when she's hanging off a chair and throwing shoes around, but through her deceptively simple performances she can conjure up more philosophical questions than a freshman survey course." 
- Ann Murphy, The East Bay Express, 6/1/01

"A newcomer to Mary Armentrout's work might conclude that she is, to put it mildly, out there. I can attest to the fact that while Armentrout is out there, she knows what she's doing." 
- Sima Belmar, "Critic's Pick," The SF Bay Guardian, 5/30/01

"Dance fans expecting to be entertained by pretty ballerinas in pink tutus should be wary of Mary Armentrout's choreography. Her theatrical pieces might shock traditionalists unaccustomed to something as quirky as 1999's "Trash Dance Accumulation #1," a performance installation during which Armentrout metaphorically explored the complications of daily life by weaving her way through a maze of rubbish." 
- Lisa Hom, SF Weekly, 5/8/02

"You have to be willing to let go of preconceptions of normalcy when you go to a Mary Armentrout Dance Theater concert. Armentrout has a skewed and often hilarious perspective on the ordinary, as evidenced by last year's "Psychopathology of Everyday Life." Armentrout likes to strip away the layers of pretense, contradictions, and obsessions in which we wrap ourselves and that inevitably screw up our relationships, (... and) she does so with an understated, deadpan sense of humor." 
- Rita Felciano, "Critic's Pick," The SF Bay Guardian, 5/8/02

"... what's funny and what's funny... It's a delicate balance to integrate the two, and thrilling to witness when carefully executed, as the "dance theatre installation artist" Mary Armentrout demonstrated last July in her one-woman show entitled "Solo Musings." 
-Christopher Correa, DanceViewTimes, 10/12/04