Photo Flash: First Look at Alonzo King LINES Ballet at Meany Hall
Alonzo King, the celebrated contemporary ballet company, is guided by its uniquely global artistic vision. Drawing on a diverse set of deeply rooted cultural traditions, the company's works imbue classical ballet with new expressive potential. Alonzo King's visionary choreography is renowned for its ability to connect audiences to a profound sense of shared humanity-of vulnerability and tenderness, but also of furious abandon and exhilarating freedom. The program includes Concerto for Two Violiins, Writing Ground, and Rasa, set to an original score created and performed live by tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain. Scroll down for some photos of the ballet!
Rasa is a deeply evocative and shimmering piece set to an original score created and performed live by tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain. Zakir Hussain's mastery of classical Indian percussion and unique vision of world music have brought him worldwide renown, including a Grammy nomination, and his collaborations with Alonzo King renew classical forms in an entirely innovative way. Tabla music began as dancing music, in Northern Indian courts in the early 1700s, and its hypnotic intensity and complex rhythms convey the strong feeling that they are meant to move the body. Rasa is thus both a continuation of a deep tradition-the interdependence of dance and tabla music as art forms-and an expression of the contemporary global vision of both artists.
Concerto for Two Violins surrenders to the rhythms of Bach, utilizing music first immortalized by Balanchine last century. From its opening, the 16-minute ballet unfurls with energetic passages of uniform formations and exploding solos, the exacting movements defining King's brand of "muscular classicalism." Concerto for Two Violins delivers emotionality equal to the rich, textured voice of the accompanying strings.
Commissioned in 2010 by Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, King's masterful Writing Ground draws inspiration from poems by award-winning author Colum McCann. An emotionally searing and lyrical work set to a collection of sacred early music from the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Tibetan Buddhist traditions, Writing Ground challenges the Company to explore new physical territory.
Alonzo King LINES Ballet is a celebrated contemporary ballet company that has been guided since 1982 by the unique artistic vision of Alonzo King. Collaborating with noted composers, musicians, and visual artists from around the world, Alonzo King creates works that draw on a diverse set of deeply rooted cultural traditions, imbuing classical ballet with new expressive potential. Alonzo King understands ballet as a science - founded on universal, geometric principles of energy and evolution - and continues to develop a new language of movement from its classical forms and techniques. Alonzo King's visionary choreography, brought to life by the extraordinary LINES Ballet dancers, is renowned for connecting audiences to a profound sense of shared humanity.
While the Company's spring and fall home seasons bring new works of illuminating beauty to Bay Area audiences, LINES Ballet's global tours allow us to share our vision of transformative, revelatory dance worldwide. LINES Ballet has been featured at venues such as the Venice Biennale, Monaco Dance Forum, Maison de la Dance, the Edinburgh Festival, Montpellier Danse, the Wolfsburg Festival, and the Holland Dance Festival. This past spring, the first full-length film of the Company's performances was released in Europe, inaugurating Alonzo King LINES Ballet's 30th Anniversary season.
Alonzo King has been called a visionary choreographer, who is altering the way we look at ballet. 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.
King has works in the repertories of the Swedish Royal Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, Ballet Bejart, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Joffrey Ballet, Alvin Ailey, Hong Kong Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. He has worked extensively in opera, television, and film. Known for collaborations, seminal works include People of the Forest (2001), choreographed with Baka artists from Central African Republic and Long River High Sky (2007), with China's Shaolin Monks. He has collaborated with actor Danny Glover, legendary jazz saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders, Hamza al Din, Pawel Szymanski, Jason Moran, and tabla master Zakir Hussain. Renowned for his skill as a teacher, Mr. King has been guest ballet master for dance companies around the globe. In 2012 King was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Corps de Ballet International Teacher Conference.
King is the director of the international touring Company, Alonzo King LINES Ballet housed in San Francisco with the Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA at Dominican University of California, Training Program, Summer Program, and Dance Center.
Alonzo King is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Dance Masters of America, President Award, and the first ever Barney Choreographic Prize from White Bird Dance, which King received in July 2013 and April 2013 respectively. In October 2012, the San Francisco Museum & Historical Society named Alonzo King a "San Francisco Treasure" in recognition of the significant contributions he has made to the historic fabric of San Francisco over the last 30 years. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom presented the Mayor's Art Award to Alonzo King in October 2008, calling him a "San Francisco treasure." In June 2008, Alonzo King was honored with the Jacob's Pillow Creativity Award, in recognition of his contribution to "moving ballet in a very 21st-century direction". In 2006, King received the US Artists award, and in 2005, received New York's Bessie Award for Choreographer/Creator. He is also the recipient of the NEA Choreographer's Fellowship, Irvine Fellowship in Dance, National Dance Project and the National Dance Residency Program, as well as several Isadora Duncan Awards. He has received the Hero Award from Union Bank, the Los Angeles Lehman Award, and the Excellence Award from KGO, and was chosen a recipient of the San Francisco Foundation's 2007 Community Leadership Award.
In 2005, King was named a Master of Choreography by the Kennedy Center. He is a former commissioner for the city and county of San Francisco, and a writer and lecturer on the art of dance. He was awarded the Green Honors Chair Professorship from Texas Christian University, and holds an honorary Doctorate from Dominican University of California and California Institute of the Arts.
Zakir Hussain is universally acknowledged to be one of the world's leading virtuosos of Indian Classical percussion. Hussain is the son of the great Alla Rakha, master tabla player best known for his long association with Ravi Shankar. A child prodigy, Zakir displayed an uncanny ability to learn the intricacies of his father's art, and was touring by the age of twelve. Zakir continues to expand the boundaries of his musical universe, working with Jazz legends like John McLaughlin (in Shakti), Joe Henderson and Jon Handy. He continues to work in the Indian Classical tradition as well, and leads his own cross-cultural band, Rhythm Experience.
The UW World Series is one of Seattle's leading performing arts organizations, presenting innovative, provocative, and diverse international artists in music, theater, and dance. More than 450 visiting artists from around the world have performed as part of the UWWS. The eclectic mix of programming has given Northwest audiences a broad view of the world of performing arts, from sampling unique cultural traditions to experiencing innovative new works that expand the scope and direction of contemporary performing arts. The UW World Series' mission includes supporting the educational goals of the University of Washington by providing extensive arts learning opportunities for UW students and faculty, area school children and teachers, and members of the community at large.
Tickets are subject to availability. Artists, dates, programs, and prices are subject to change. Discounts are available for students, seniors (65+), UW Alumni Association members, and UW employees. UW student tickets start at $10. Seating restrictions may apply. Alonzo King LINES Ballet performs at Meany Hall Thursday-Saturday, May 1-May 3, 2014 at 8pm. Tickets are $44-49. Tickets may be purchased by phone at 206-543-4880, online at http://uwworldseries.org/events-tickets/calendar/alonzo-king-lines-ballet, or in person at the UW Arts Ticket Office. Meany Hall is located on the Seattle campus of the University of Washington.
Photo Credit: Weiferd Watts, Margo Moritz, and Jim McGuire