|Alonzo King and the LINES Ballet dancers
Web site: http://www.linesballet.org
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Alonzo King LINES Ballet of San Francisco is a celebrated contemporary ballet company that has been guided since 1982 by its uniquely global artistic vision. Collaborating with noted composers, musicians, and visual artists, Alonzo King creates works that draw on a diverse set of deeply rooted cultural traditions and 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.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom presented the 2nd Annual Mayor’s Art Award to Alonzo King in October 2008, calling him a “San Francisco treasure, embodying the best of San Francisco, the creative excellence and diverse culture of this city.” 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.” The Creativity Award is the third major national award bestowed upon Mr. King in three years, following the US Artists Fellowship (given to the 50 finest artists from all disciplines currently creating work in America), and the Bessie Award for Choreographer/Creator. He has also been the recipient of the NEA Choreographer's Fellowship, the Irvine Dance Fellowship, five Isadora Duncan awards, two honorary doctorates, and the 2007 Community Leadership Award. Six Company dancers have received the coveted Princess Grace Award, including Laurel Keen (2006), Meredith Webster (2007), and Corey Scott-Gilbert (2009).
Alonzo King LINES Ballet has collaborated with legendary jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders; India's national treasure, tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain; Bernice Johnson Reagon, founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock; actor Danny Glover; Japanese classical composer Somei Satoh; celebrated Polish composer Pavel Syzmanski; and Nubian oud master Hamza El Din. One of the Company’s great successes was bringing sixteen musicians and dancers from the Lobaye Forest of Central African Republic—the BaAka—for the People of the Forest project. The Company has also received accolades for its collaborative project with the Shaolin monks, an unprecedented synthesis of Eastern and Western classical forms that intertwines martial arts and ballet.
As San Francisco audiences flock to Alonzo King LINES Ballet’s annual spring and fall home sold-out seasons, the Company is also enjoying tremendous success abroad at venues such as the Venice Biennale and the Maison de la Dance in Lyon. The Company has been featured at several prestigious festivals, including Montpellier Danse, the Wolfsburg Festival, and the Holland Dance Festival. The extraordinary quality of the dancers continues to receive glowing reviews in the US and abroad: in France, Le Monde described the performance as “a vision that remains inscribed in memory” as dancers “glide from one halo of light to the next… with distilled grace,” while the Village Voice compared the dancers to “diamonds— twisting in the light or rapidly scratching complex codes on glass.”
The accomplishments of the performing company are matched by the quality and reach of its arts education programs. Alonzo King LINES Ballet continues its commitment to dance education and community involvement through the Alonzo King LINES Dance Center, established in 1989, now one of the largest dance facilities on the West Coast offering over 80 open classes to adults and teenagers. In 2001 the LINES Ballet School was established in order to develop the potential of young dancers through our year-round and summer programs. Alonzo King LINES Ballet embarked on a partnership with the Dominican University of California in fall 2006, inaugurating the LINES Ballet/Dominican BFA program in dance. This is the only joint BFA program in the country to be led by an active, world-renowned master choreographer.