Armitage's professional career has included positions with the Ballet de Geneve, dancing the repertoire of George Balanchine, and with Merce Cunningham's Dance Co. before she started her own companies, first in New York City, then in Europe.
In 2005, she established Armitage Gone! Dance in New York City. She has choreographed works for Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rudolf Nureyev, Jeff Koons, Alvin Ailey, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix, James Ivory, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Cirque du Soleil, ballet and opera companies in Paris, Berlin, Monte Carlo, Havana and Washington. She has set work to compositions by Johannes Brahms and Bela Bartok and modern composers such as Gyorgy Ligeti and Tod Machover on subjects ranging from Audubon's birds to black holes and string theory.
Armitage has been awarded the Commandeur dans L'order des Arts et des Lettres. Vanity Fair christened her the "punk ballerina," and her work has been featured in several television documentaries.
In 2004, The New Yorker welcomed her back to New York City: "For more than 20 years, since Balanchine's death, people have been waiting for someone to ... create the future of American ballet ... Armitage seems to be trying to do so."
She directed the 2004 Venice Biennale International Festival of Contemporary Dance, and her choreography for the 2009 Broadway revival of "Hair" earned her a Tony nomination.
Armitage started dancing in Lawrence under Tomi Wortham at the Lawrence Dance Studio before studying with Ballet West, the School of American Ballet in New York City and in London. She returns regularly to Lawrence to perform at the Lied Center of Kansas and to host master classes at the University of Kansas.