BEAVER CREEK — When you ask Alonzo King, artistic director and choreographer of LINES Ballet, about what inspires him to create his moving and daring choreography, the answer is simple: Love. King’s visionary choreography, brought to life by the extraordinary LINES Ballet dancers, connects audiences to a profound sense of shared humanity.
Since 1982, the celebrated contemporary ballet company has been guided by King’s deep and thought-provoking artistic talent, which incorporates unique collaborations with noted composers, musicians and visual artists from around the world. King’s works are pulled from a diverse set of deeply rooted cultural traditions, combining classical ballet with expressive modern movement.
Author and choreographer collaborate
At the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek on Sunday, Alonzo King LINES Ballet company will perform two quintessentially modern pieces, “Concerto for Two Violins” and “Writing Ground.”
For the piece, “Writing Ground,” King collaborated with the award-winning novelist Colum McCann, an Irish-born American author and recipient of the 2009 National Book Award for “Let the Great World Spin.” In 2010 Jean-Christophe Maillot, the director of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo and Monaco Dance Forum, invited King to create a premiere for the Monte Carlo Ballet with McCann.
“Colum and I had our first face-to-face meeting during LINES’ New York season at the Joyce Theater,” King said. “Colum came to rehearsal to observe the dancers and we met afterwards to discuss in more detail about what we were going to do. We were both enthusiastic, and it was apparent that our thoughts about art are similar.”
King expressed that what McCann wrote was “beautiful, which provided a doorway” for the two creators to begin “Writing Ground.”
“The language of movement can be said to contain words,” King said. “Words, whether written or spoken, are sounds and shapes. In creating movement language, you are drafting thoughts and ideas and condensing them into visible form. The dancers are not just executing steps, or exhibiting their personality, but are actually inhabiting ideas and ciphering those ideas into communicable expression.”
“Writing Ground” is set to sacred music from Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Christian traditions.
Inspiring the next generation
Set to the music by Johann Sebastian Bach, “Concerto for Two Violins” is far different from the Balanchine and Paul Taylor versions, as King puts his own elegant and awe-inspiring signature onto the sound of Bach. The texture of each dancer’s movement and mood is fluid and without sound. The ending may leave you with loose ends, but you will be satiated with the breathtaking performance.
Alonzo King LINES Ballet continues to inspire young dancers. Prior to the Vilar Center performance, LINES Ballet Master Arturo Fernandez will teach a master class for Vail Youth Ballet Company dancers at Vail Valley Academy of Dance. Since 1992, Fernandez has been the Ballet Master for Alonzo King LINES Ballet, as well as assisting King in the creation of new work. In addition, Fernandez has coordinated and taught in Alonzo King’s Professional Workshop and directed the first ever summer pre-professional program at LINES. Alonzo King LINES Ballet will hold auditions for its 2014 summer program in Denver on Jan. 26. Visit summer.linesballet.org/audition/tour/ for more details.
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 also worked extensively in opera, television and film. 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 he received in July 2013 and April 2013, respectively. In 2012, King was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Corps de Ballet International Teacher Conference.
Jennifer Geisman was contracted by the Vail Valley Foundation to write this story. Email comments to email@example.com.