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Alonzo King LINES Ballet Announces Spring Season, 5/4-14

Alonzo King LINES Ballet Announces Spring Season, 5/4-14

Alonzo King LINES Ballet is pleased to announce its Spring Season at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, May 4-14. The season pairs visionary choreographer Alonzo King with Bob Holman, legendary founder of the Bowery Poetry Club, endangered language activist, poet and filmmaker.

As part of his language preservation work, Holman has recorded poetry from members of communities and indigenous cultures whose languages are in danger of extinction. His recorded collection of native people's poetry and song forms the soundscape of a new ballet choreographed by Alonzo King.

With a career spanning four decades as a filmmaker, performer, professor and activist, Holman is co-founder of the Endangered Language Alliance, which seeks to conserve the linguistic diversity of New York by documenting and revitalizing a rich panoply of immigrant languages. With over half the world's 6,000-7,000 languages at risk of vanishing by the end of the century, Holman continues to be a leading advocate for language preservation in indigenous communities from Hawaii and Alaska to Australia and Wales. He is also recognized for his role as host in "Language Matters with Bob Holman," Berkeley Film Festival's 2015 Documentary of the Year, a film that focuses on the rapid extinction of languages and efforts to preserve them.

Holman understands language in much the same way King regards movement: not merely as a tool of communication, but as a system of consciousness. When plumbed deep enough, both movement and language connect to wisdom far beyond the self. King and Holman trust art as a way of knowing.

The season will also feature the Annual Spring Gala on May 6, 2017. Actress and activist Ashley Judd chairs the gala, which benefits LINES Ballet's new works and educational programs. The evening begins with a grand cocktail reception, followed by the world premiere ballet by King and Holman. Following the performance, guests will continue the celebration with an elegant Gala dinner and exciting live auction.

About Alonzo King

Alonzo King is a visionary choreographer who collaborates with noted composers, musicians, and visual artists, creating works that draw on diverse sets of deeply rooted cultural traditions and imbue classical ballet with new expressive potential. King calls his works 'thought structures' created by the manipulation of energies that exist in matter through laws, which govern the shapes and movement directions of everything that exists. Named as a choreographer with 'astonishing originality by the New York Times, Alonzo King LINES Ballet has been guided by his unique artistic vision since 1982.

King has been commissioned to create works for the repertories of companies throughout the world including the Swedish Royal Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, North Carolina Dance Theatre, and Washington Ballet. He has worked extensively in opera, television, and film, and has choreographed works for prima ballerina Natalia Makarova and film star Patrick Swayze. Mr. King has also collaborated with artists such as actor Danny Glover, legendary jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, and the Shaolin Monks of China. Renowned for his skill as a teacher, King has been the guest ballet master for National Ballet of Canada, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, San Francisco Ballet, Ballet Rambert, Ballet West and others.

In 1982, King founded Alonzo King LINES Ballet, which has developed into a world renowned touring company. Seven years later, he inaugurated the San Francisco Dance Center, which has grown into one of the largest dance facilities on the West Coast. In 2001, King started the LINES Ballet School to nurture and develop the talents of young dancers. Expanding the scope of his educational visions to the college level in 2006, King and LINES Ballet embarked on a partnership with the Dominican University of California, creating the West Coast's first Joint BFA program in Dance. It is the only Joint BFA program in the country to be led by a living master choreographer.

King's work has been recognized for its impact on the cultural fabric of the company's home in San Francisco, as well as internationally by the dance world's most prestigious institutions. Named a Master of Choreography by the Kennedy Center in 2005, King is the recipient of the NEA Choreographer's Fellowship, the Jacob's Pillow Creativity Award, the Irvine Fellowship in Dance, the US Artist Award in Dance, NY Bessie Award, and the National Dance Project's Residency and Touring Awards. In 2014, King was appointed to the advisory council of the newly established Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University; in 2015 he received the Doris Duke Artist Award in celebration of his ongoing contributions to the advancement of contemporary dance. Joining historic icons in the field, King was named one of America's "Irreplaceable Dance Treasures" by the Dance Heritage Coalition in 2015. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom presented the 2nd Annual Mayor's Art Award to Alonzo King in October 2008. He also received Barney Choreographic Prize from White Bird Dance in April 2013, several Isadora Duncan awards, the San Francisco Foundations's 2007 Community Leadership Award, the Hero Award from Union Bank, the Lehman Award, and the Excellence Award from KGO. In October 2012 the San Francisco Museum & Historical Society named Alonzo King a "San Francisco Treasure"

He is a former commissioner for the city and county of San Francisco, and a writer and lecturer on the art of dance; his contributions appear in the books Masters of Movement: Portraits of American Choreographers and in Dance Masters: Interviews with Legends of Dance. In 2005 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate by Dominican University of California, the Green Honors Chair Professorship from Texas Christian University as well as an honorary Doctorate from CalArts.

About Bob Holman

Bob Holman's poetry has traversed genres, styles and media since the 1970's, when he began directing Poets Theater productions by Mayakovsky, Artaud, O'Hara and others at St. Marks Church. It was also at St. Mark's where Holman began his career as an arts administrator, serving at the Poetry Project as Coordinator, host, and workshop leader for six years, 1978-84. While serving as co-director of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe from 1988-96, Holman continued to explore the intersection of poetry and performance, originating and hosting the Cafe's historic Poetry Slam series. Through Holman's involvement at the Nuyorican, he became an instrumental figure in the popularization of performance poetry movements around the world. Holman has edited and co-edited many projects including, Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, an anthology of Nuyorican poetry.

In 1995 Holman pushed poetry further beyond the page when he founded the world's first spoken word poetry record label, Mouth Almighty/Mercury Records, where he served as Vice President of Artistic Development until 1999. To ensure a permanent home for the arts in Lower Manhattan, in 1995 Holman founded Bowery Arts and Science, the non-profit arts organization where he served as Executive Director until 2005, and currently serves as Artistic Director. In 2001, Holman founded the Bowery Poetry Club, which continues to play host to much of the programming from Bowery Arts and Science. For his decades of work in service to the arts community in New York and beyond, Holman has received numerous community awards, including the Poets & Writers Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, NYU's Community Citizen of the Year award, and the Elizabeth Kray Poetry award from Poets House.

Holman's work in television began in 1987 when he became producer and host of WNYC-TV's short film series "Poetry Spots." Over six seasons, Holman produced fifty-five "Poetry Spots," and won Emmy Awards for Local Arts Programming and Editing in 1988 and 1992. From 1990-92, Holman produced and performed in "Words in Your Face" for PBS. As creator and producer of the award winning, five-part PBS television series "The United States of Poetry," Holman released his first long-form intersectional work in 1996. Holman's poetry films have won awards at Berlin's Zebra International Poetry Film Festival in 2002, 2004, and 2010. His experience melding poetry and media informed his professorship at Bard College, where from 1998 to 2002, he served as Visiting Professor of Writing and Integrated Arts. From 2007 to 2010, Holman was Visiting Professor at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, and he is currently on leave from the Columbia University School of the Arts.

While the New York arts community, to which much of Holman's career has been devoted, remains a primary focus of his, Holman now shifts his lens to the global community of language. Holman began his current work with the poetry of endangered languages while tracing the lineage of performance poetry to its root in orality and the world's oral traditions-particularly those of West African griots-a quest captured in the 2010 LinkTV documentary film, "On the Road with Bob Holman." While traveling from West Africa to Israel and the West Bank for "On the Road," Holman became dedicated to protecting and preserving the world's endangered languages. In 2010, he co-founded the Endangered Language Alliance, where he currently serves as co-director. "Language Matters with Bob Holman," a documentary exploring the endangered language crisis, aired nationally on PBS in January, 2015.

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