Alonzo King, master choreographer and director of LINES Ballet, brings his company of extraordinarily talented dancers to the Riviera this December.
San Francisco-based LINES opens its tour of France with performances in Fréjus on December 2nd, and in Cannes on December 3rd, before moving on to six further locations across the country.
LINES will present a programme of two works – Concerto for Two Violins, and Writing Ground – the latter commissioned by Jean-Christope Maillot for his Ballets de Monte-Carlo in 2010.
Bach’s Double Violin Concerto has previously provided the inspiration for choreographers such as George Balanchine and Paul Taylor, and is regarded as to be one of the finest compositions from the late Baroque period.
King’s Concerto for Two Violins pays homage to the traditional style of classical ballet, whilst accentuating the continuing evolution of neoclassicism in the art form. At the time of its San Francisco premiere, the work was described by the San Francisco Chronicle’s dance critic as delivering what LINES Ballet audiences have come to expect: “…. dancing of immense pliancy and emotional resonance by a team of amazingly resilient performers who relish the challenges that King’s choreography throws their way”.
Writing Ground was inspired by the poems of internationally acclaimed author Colum McCann, winner of the 2009 National Book Award for Let the Great World Spin, which became a best-seller on four continents.
Described as “an emotionally searing and lyrical work”, Writing Ground is set to a collection of sacred early music from the Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Tibetan Buddhist faiths. King says that he was drawn to the sacred music of these different cultures because “Colum’s words made me think of the endless trillions of thoughts that proceed from humanity in our unanimous quest to avoid suffering and attain some ever interesting joy, and how ultimately those words become sacred texts which design our lives”.
Never one to shy away from a concept which is both intensely creative and highly unusual, King produced for Writing Ground the visionary choreography for which he is renowned, pushing the physical barriers for his dancers, challenging them to explore new territory, and producing a work which, according to the Huffington Post, “illustrates the power of Alonzo King’s story-telling at its height”.
Although Colum McCann had learned about the world of dance when writing his novel, Dancer – “a fictionalisation of the life of Rudolf Nureyev”, Writing Ground was his first opportunity to write for dance, “… like setting off on a whole new journey, casting off into uncharted territory,” he said at the time of the Monte-Carlo premiere.
Alonzo King is widely considered to be in a class of his own as far as his creative contribution to the world of dance is concerned. He is, quite simply, changing the way in which ballet is perceived. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including Master of Choreography, bestowed on him by the Kennedy Center in 2005, and the Lifetime Achievement Award for teaching by the Corps de Ballet International Teacher Conference in 2012.
King has works in the contemporary repertoires of some of the world’s most prestigious dance companies – 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. LINES Ballet has performed at venues such as the Venice Biennale, Monaco Dance Forum, Maison de la Dance, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Wolfsburg Festival, the Holland Dance Festival and – most recently – Théâtre National de Chaillot in Paris.
Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet appears at:
– Théâtre Le Forum in Fréjus on December 2nd at 8.30 pm, (tickets available online) and
– Palais des Festivals, Grand Auditorium, Cannes on December 3rd at 8.30 pm (tickets available online)
Tickets for all performances are available online.
All photographs courtesy Alonzo King LINES Ballet, © Margo Moritz