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.
Concerto for Two Violins surrenders to the rhythms of Bach, utilizing music first immortalized by Balanchine last century. From its opening, the 16 minute ballet unfurls with energetic passages of uniform formations and exploding solos, the exacting movements defining King’s brand of “muscular classicalism.” Called “smart and satisfying” by the San Francisco Chronicle, Concerto for Two Violins delivers emotionality equal to the rich, textured voice of the accompanying strings.