Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet has just opened its Fall Home Season in San Francisco, with two premieres – the first San Francisco performance of Writing Ground, created for Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, and the world premiere of a new work – Concerto for Two Violins – set to the music of J C Bach.
LINES Ballet is a highly unusual company in almost every sense. There is no hierarchy amongst this small group of extraordinarily gifted dancers – each is a star, each interpreting King’s distinctive choreography in an individual yet totally complementary style. Founder and master choreographer, Alonzo King, is as much a philosopher as a creative genius, possessing an artistic vision which continues to provide his dancers with a repertoire of unique and wonderfully innovative works.
Writing Ground was commissioned by Jean-Christophe Maillot, Artistic Director of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, in 2010, the year in which the ballet had its world premiere in Monaco. Alonzo King drew his inspiration for the work from the writings of Colum McCann, Irish-born American author of international acclaim, and recipient of a number of honours, including the 2009 National Book Award for Let the Great World Spin.
Setting his ballet to a collection of sacred early music from the Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Tibetan Buddhist faiths, King says that he was led to use the sacred music of these different cultures because “Colum’s words made me think of the endless trillions of thoughts that proceed from humanity in our unanimous quest to avoid suffering, and attain some ever interesting joy, and how ultimately those words become sacred texts which design our lives”.
Always attracted by an intensely creative and highly unusual concept, King’s visionary choreography once again pushes the physical barriers for his uniquely talented dancers, to present a work which, according to the Huffington Post, “illustrates the power of Alonzo King’s story-telling at its height”.
Although Colum McCann had learned about the world of dance when writing his novel, Dancer – “a fictionalisation of the life of Rudolf Nureyev”, Writing Ground was his first opportunity to write for dance, “… like setting off on a whole new journey, casting off into uncharted territory,” he said at the time of the Monte-Carlo premiere.
Bach’s Double Violin Concerto sets the scene for the world premiere performance of LINES Ballet’s newest work. With this concerto having previously provided the inspiration for choreographers such as George Balanchine and Paul Taylor, King says that his challenge was to put LINES’ unique stamp on their interpretation of what is arguably one of the finest compositions from the late Baroque period. It’s a challenge to which the Company rose admirably, with its customary minimalist design, allowing the focus to fall on King’s intriguing choreography and his dancers’ incredible capabilities.
As if two premieres were not enough to celebrate, LINES Ballet’s new dance photography book has also just been published. Designed by Company Co-Founder and Creative Director Robert Rosenwasser, the book includes text by Alonzo King, and features the exquisite photography of RJ Muna and Marty Sohl – including some images never before published.
LINES Ballet’s Fall Home Season runs from October 25 – November 3, at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Lam Research Theater, San Francisco.