On Saturday, March 1, Alonzo King's LINES Ballet executed an exquisite dance performance to a packed Wadsworth Auditorium as part of the Limelight and Accents Performing Arts Series.
The LINES Ballet, hailing all the way from San Francisco Bay, redefines any prior assumptions one may have regarding ballet. Rather than donning fluffy pink tutus and pirouetting across the stage, LINES is a powerful fusion of East meets West with an overarching flair of graceful modernity. They have toured worldwide and recently collaborated with the Shaolin monks. Their dances are multicultural, multidimensional and as such, are appreciated the world over.
The first dance, "The Hierarchical Migration of Birds and Mammals," began with King standing in the back of the auditorium, watching over like an omnipresent creator. This dance was performed in neutral flowing costumes to the exploratory, nature-inspired music composed by Miguel Frasconi. The synthesis of Frasconi's music with the dancer's movement was awe-inspiring, to say the least, and received many gasps of appreciation from the audience. "Migration" conveyed a feeling that life was transcending boundaries through earth, animal and man and yet, despite the magnificence, there was still something craving liberation.
"Rasa," the second dance, was backed by music composed by Zakir Hussain, in the rhythmic tabla-drum style from India, with bols, or mnemonic syllables, imitating the instrumental music. This dance, rather than moving with the slow fluidity of the first, expressed a sense of urgency. Like "Migration," it felt raw and sensual and left audience members wondering how they were physically able to move their bodies the way they did. However, unlike "Migration," the passion expressed in "Rasa" seemed uniquely human. The performance concluded with the audience giving the dancers a very enthusiastic and well-deserved standing ovation.
Alonzo King's LINES Ballet conveys the feeling of oneness, whether it's that of music with movement, man with nature or the oneness achieved by crossing cultural divides.
When asked what he hoped to achieve through his art, King replied, "That the work be real, that it have depth, that it tells truth, and that it is honest."
King has mastered dance as an experience, not only for the dancers, but for spectators as well. People left the performance looking as if they had just felt what they had merely come to see. If there is truth in experience, then King has already achieved great success.
LINES Ballet just celebrated its silver anniversary and will continue on tour to the American College Dance Festival on March 13 and 14 in Baltimore, Md.