CAMI Spectrum Margaret Selby
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San Francisco Premiere October 25, 2013
Choreography: Alonzo King
Music: Sacred early music from the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Tibetan Buddhist traditions
Set Designer: Robert Rosenwasser
Lighting Designer: Axel Morgenthaler
Costume Designers: Robert Rosenwasser
In collaboration with Colum McCann.
Commissioned by the Monaco Dance Forum. Premiered July 12, 2010 at the Terraces of the Casino of Monte-Carlo.
The creation of this ballet was made possible in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Bernard Osher Foundation, and the Lisa and John Pritzker Family Fund.
The creation of this ballet was supported by the funding from The Lisa and John Pritzker Family Fund and by a grant from the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation.
Act I 33 minutes / Act II 43 minutes
Sidereal time—the time of stars—is the way that astronomers fix their telescopes on remote constellations from night to night, since the earth spins them away each day. Celestial geometrics align our bodies with the complex grids of galaxies, and fireflies remind us that we can almost cup the stars in our hands.
In this piece, Alonzo King explores the orientation of our bodies to light. A ground-breaking collaboration with artist Jim Campbell, Constellation is both luminous and lucid, encompassing and intimate. When the dancers glimmer into view, they move the way that ideas move through the mind: synaptically, in pulses and flashes. King’s duets seem to show that the dancers can turn on any axis, or arc upwards from any clasp. Over the course of the piece, strings of lights drape their bodies, and lighted globes are tucked into their hands or the crooks of their knees.
The score meshes Baroque music, sung by the regal Israeli mezzo-soprano Maya Lahyani, with contemporary music by Leslie Stuck, Somei Satoh and Benjamin Juodvalkis; sounds of winds whirring on white ice and the echoes of birds wheeling in the air sweep through the theater. Sleek gossamer costumes by Robert Rosenwasser and subtle, expansive lighting design by Axel Morgenthaler— hailed as “gorgeous” by the San Francisco Chronicle—set off the beauty and precision of the dancers. And the dancers, moved by Alonzo King’s idea that dancing is a form of communion that takes us beyond ourselves, glide into the light.
Scheherazade was commissioned by Jean-Christophe Maillot, Artistic Director of Monaco Dance Forum, and made possible by support from the Rudolf Nureyev Dance Foundation.
Alonzo King’s Scheherazade is a re-envisioning of the ancient collection of Persian, Sanskrit, and Arabic stories of 1,001 Nights. The exquisite dancers of LINES Ballet present a vision of the transformative potential these stories possess: the way that we are offered a chance to listen to a voice that can change our lives, the power of art to illuminate all the chambers of our hearts. The new score by tabla master Zakir Hussain re-interprets the original music by Rimsky-Korsakov, incorporating traditional Persian as well as Western instruments. Commissioned by the Monaco Dance Forum to inaugurate the Centenary of the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, Alonzo King LINES Ballet’s Scheherazade honors Diaghilev’s spirit of cutting-edge artistic collaboration, immersing audiences in a luminescent and richly textured world.
“My intention was to grapple with the metaphysical meaning behind Scheherazade and present that meaning in its essence. Scheherazade is the symbol of the savior. She weaves tales not to save her own life, but to save humanity from its unending retributive response to injury.”
– Alonzo King
The commissioning and production of Triangle of the Squinches was made possible by The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation Choreographer Collaboration Awards 2008 Initiative. We would also like to acknowledge the support of National Endowment for the Arts and the grant made by the Columbia Foundation.
Triangle of the Squinches, is set to a commissioned score by legendary musician Mickey Hart and features an innovative kinetic set by cutting-edge architect Christopher Haas. In this piece, Alonzo King explores the inner and outer space of the body: how do we strive to touch something infinite with our material forms? What is the resonance between the bodies we inhabit and the forms we create?
But in his motion like an angel sings – William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice
A stone is frozen music – Pythagoras
Architecture is frozen music – Goethe
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe – John Muir
“Like so many dances by the celebrated choreographer Alonzo King, Dust and Light resembles poetry in motion,” the Boston Globe proclaims. In a landscape that shifts like the clouds, dappling the stage with soft light and then bathing the dancers in silvery radiance, Alonzo King brings out the emotional intimacy of dance. The LINES Ballet dancers move in harmonious counterpoint to each other, setting off the rich variations of Arcangelo Corelli’s Baroque music against Francis Poulenc’s otherworldly sacred choral odes. Each body is replete with radiant potential, as if the stage were filled with a dozen moons—or perhaps with a dozen suns, since, as Alonzo King says, “a tendu isn't just the straightening of the leg but a ray of light radiating from the sun.” As the duets and trios of dancers culminate in an exuberant ensemble, the intimacy of the piece expands and opens outwards, immersing the audience in luminous grace.
Choreography: Alonzo King
Music: Sephardic Tradition
Lighting Designer: Axel Morgenthaler
Production and Costume Designer: Robert Rosenwasser
A special thank you to Francesco Spagnolo, PhD, for his invaluable research and musical input for this production, providing us access to rare field recordings. We also extend thanks Dan Schiffrin from the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco.
We would like to acknowledge the support of National Endowment for the Arts and the grant made from the Columbia Foundation.
A dancer presses his body into the outline of a cone of light; the halo lifts upwards, a shofar sounds its lament, and Resin begins. As the piece moves from intimate duets to the flashing, barely visible footwork of a quartet of dancers, Alonzo King explores the possibilities of the vast and diverse field of Sephardic music. In this “Diaspora within the Diaspora,” as curator and ethnomusicologist Francesco Spagnolo writes, “the music of the Sephardic Jews has come into contact with music from Europe, including Italy and the Balkans, and especially with the Arabic and Turkish musical worlds.” Rare archival field recordings are interwoven with Judeo-Spanish songs, and the stage is transformed into a shimmering and timeless landscape, as tiny hardened tears cascade downwards in streams of light.
"When a tree wound penetrates through the bark and into the sapwood, the tree bleeds a resin. Myrrh gum, like frankincense, is such a resin. When people harvest resin, they wound the trees repeatedly to bleed them of the gum, slashing the bark and allowing the exuded resins to bleed out and harden. These hardened resins are called tears. The word myrrh derives from the Aramaic murr, meaning, 'was bitter.' The resin frankincense is also known as olibanum, which is derived from the Arabic al-luban, roughly translated as “that which results from milking.” The hard transparent resins are principally used for varnishes, while the softer odoriferous oleo and gum resins containing essential oils are more largely used for incense and therapeutic purposes. With no lost irony, resin in the form of rosin is applied to the bows of stringed instruments like the violin and sarangi because of its quality for adding friction to the hair, and dancers apply crushed rosin to their shoes to increase grip on a slippery floor." - Alonzo King
This work was made possible, in part, by a generous grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation.
Rasa, a deeply evocative and shimmering piece, set to an original score by tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, which was called “an intriguing wonder” by the New York Times. Zakir Hussain’s mastery of classical Indian percussion and unique vision of world music have brought him worldwide renown, including a Grammy nomination, and his collaborations with Alonzo King renew classical forms in an entirely innovative way. Tabla music began as dancing music, in Northern Indian courts in the early 1700s, and its hypnotic intensity and complex rhythms convey the strong feeling that they are meant to move the body. Rasa is thus both a continuation of a deep tradition--the interdependence of dance and tabla music as art forms--and an expression of the contemporary global vision of both artists.
Refraction is a Meet The Composer Commission Music/USA Commission, supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
“I am always hoping my music will move its audience,” jazz composer Jason Moran said of this collaboration with Alonzo King LINES Ballet. Refraction marked the first time Moran had composed for dance, and he confided that his first experience watching Alonzo King and the LINES dancers in the studio was “a breakthrough—I wasn’t ready for what I witnessed.” Named “the most provocative thinker in current jazz” by Rolling Stone, Jason Moran is both steeped in the traditions of jazz and committed to pushing its boundaries. Refraction unites Moran and King as they open up new avenues for jazz and ballet as art forms—and create a vivid new dialogue between those forms. Voice of Dance described this piece as bringing together “an astonishingly flexible and fearless team of dancers, arresting choices of music, an intense, brooding atmosphere, and a movement style that begins with a ballet base, subjects the body to all manner of non-balletic flourishes, yet ultimately remains faithful to a classical ideal.”