Alonzo King LINES Ballet brings more than movement to Vail Dance Festival | VailDaily.com

Alonzo King LINES Ballet brings more than movement to Vail Dance Festival

Katie Coakley
Special to the Daily

Adji Cissoko, Alonzo King LINES Ballet.

VAIL — For more than 35 years, Alonzo King LINES Ballet has been captivating audiences with performances that evoke emotions and imagination well beyond the movement of the dancers.

King's choreography has been described as living in both the "African fusion and the 'go nowhere fast' school," in a review by The New York Times, with "movement (that) uncharacteristically wells up from the dancers' bodies rather than being laid on them." This melding of influences makes King's work uniquely his own.

In speaking to Mr. King, it's clear that the performance is more than just the sum of the choreography, the dancers and the music.

"We're trying to touch hearts and stir minds. And that always remains the object, regardless of particular ballets or what it's going to be," King said. "It's for people. It's an attempt to awaken anything that is sleeping in human beings because we are creatures of habit and, after a while, we can turn into automatons because we have this daily schedule.

"One of the wonders of art-making is that it can reawaken you in the same way that going into nature, that getting out of the city and spending some time in nature, will re-enliven you, will make you feel connected once again to the largeness of the universe and the insignificance of our teeny little size in the bigger picture."

Audiences will have the opportunity to see performances by LINES in two outdoor venues during the festival: Monday, July 30, at the Avon Performance Pavilion at Nottingham Park for a Dancing in the Park event, and then on Tuesday, July 31, for the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater debut performance featuring two acclaimed Alonzo King ballets, "Biophony" and "SAND."

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"Biophony," which incorporates soundscapes from various ecosystems, merges dancers with nature, creating a new form of sound and motion. "SAND" probes the connections between the grains and humans, exploring the idea that something small has the power to shape and create.

"We possess incredible power, and when you watch art, it can slap you in the face … and you remember, 'my god, I'm really underserving myself by thinking so small,'" King said. "And then the other side of that is that you recognize that we are small and that we are large.

"Both of those things work together. What does that mean? It means that in our physicality, in terms of size, in space and on the planet, we're minuscule, but internally, inside these bodies, we are more than gargantuan."

The excitement audiences feel at a LINES performance can be described as visceral and dynamic, but it is clearly also profound and thought-provoking. As a debut company this year at the Vail Dance Festival, LINES brings more than just extraordinary dancing.

If you go …

What: Dancing in the Park: Alonzo King LINES Ballet.

When: 5:30 p.m. Monday, July 30.

Where: Harry A. Nottingham Park Performance Pavilion, Avon.

Cost: Free.

More information: Visit http://www.vaildance.org to purchase tickets and view the full season schedule. Follow the Festival on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

If you go …

What: Alonzo King LINES Ballet, a contemporary ballet company led by Alonzo King, makes its Vail Dance Festival debut.

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 31.

Where: Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, 530 South Frontage Road E., Vail.

Cost: Reserved seating is $50 to 113, based on availability; lawn seating is $23 for adults, $10 for children ages 13 to 17, and children 12 and younger are free.

More information: Visit http://www.vaildance.org to purchase tickets and view the full season schedule. Follow the Festival on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.