San Francisco’s Alonzo King LINES Ballet presented their double bill of innovative works at the Royal Theatre on March 10 and 11, 2017. Founded in 1982 by choreographer Alonzo King, the company 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. 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’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. 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.
The performance opened with Shostakovich, which originally premiered in November 2014, a ballet with an undercurrent of restless agitation, set to four Shostakovich string quartets. The music wavers in a state of crystalline suspension, pushing the dancers’ tensile strength to the limit as they revel in the space between harmony and discord, in the long arc before an earthbound fall.
Sand originally premiered in April 21, 2016. For his latest work, King’s choreography takes inspiration from a new musical score by the prolific jazz masters Charles Lloyd and Jason Moran.Known as a risk-taker and innovator of new directions in the jazz idiom, Jason Moran is the 2017 Arison Alumni Award Honoree, 2010 MacArthur fellow and was named Artistic Director for Jazz at The Kennedy Center in 2014. He collaborated previously with King on LINES Ballet’s 2009 Refraction, his first foray into composing for dance. Jazz saxophone icon Charles Lloyd is a key figure in the development of jazz-fusion and world music. Together Moran and Lloyd recorded the acclaimed 2013 album, Hagar’s Song. Forever rooted in the canonical structures of the past, ballet dancers and jazz musicians mine the present moment. Together they revel in the freedom borne of exacting discipline, and boldly forge ahead.
Photos by: RJ Muna and Chris Hardy