Skip to comments.SanFran/NEA Stimulus Success Story of the Day!
Posted on 10/27/2010 7:57:18 PM PDT by mikalasukala
San Francisco/NEA Stimulus Success Story of the Day: #1 of 37
Today's Profile: Alonzo King LINES Ballet
According to CNSNews.com:
CNSNews.com presents this weeks Golden Hookah to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for distributing $1.4 million in special economic stimulus grants to 37 arts organizations located in the City of San Francisco.ABOUT US:
Money for the grants was slipped into the $787-billion economic "stimulus" law that President Barack Obama signed in February 2009.
While the NEA says the grants were awarded on the basis of artistic merit and excellence--and that political affiliation was in no way a part of the selection process--"arts" groups in San Francisco got more grants than any entire state except New York or California, taken as a whole.
Alonzo King LINES Ballet of San Francisco is a celebrated contemporary ballet company that has been guided since 1982 by its uniquely global artistic vision. Collaborating with noted composers, musicians, and visual artists, Alonzo King creates works that draw on a diverse set of deeply rooted cultural traditions and imbue classical ballet with new expressive potential. Alonzo Kings visionary choreography is renowned for its ability to connect audiences to a profound sense of shared humanityof vulnerability and tenderness, but also of furious abandon and exhilarating freedom.Artistic Vision:
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom presented the 2nd Annual Mayors Art Award to Alonzo King in October 2008, calling him a San Francisco treasure, embodying the best of San Francisco, the creative excellence and diverse culture of this city. In June 2008, Alonzo King was honored with the Jacobs Pillow Creativity Award, in recognition of his contribution to moving ballet in a very 21st-century direction. The Creativity Award is the third major national award bestowed upon Mr. King in three years, following the US Artists Fellowship (given to the 50 finest artists from all disciplines currently creating work in America), and the Bessie Award for Choreographer/Creator. He has also been the recipient of the NEA Choreographer's Fellowship, the Irvine Dance Fellowship, five Isadora Duncan awards, two honorary doctorates, and the 2007 Community Leadership Award. Six Company dancers have received the coveted Princess Grace Award, including Laurel Keen (2006), Meredith Webster (2007), and Corey Scott-Gilbert (2009).
Alonzo King LINES Ballet has collaborated with legendary jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders; India's national treasure, tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain; Bernice Johnson Reagon, founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock; actor Danny Glover; Japanese classical composer Somei Satoh; celebrated Polish composer Pavel Syzmanski; and Nubian oud master Hamza El Din. One of the Companys great successes was bringing sixteen musicians and dancers from the Lobaye Forest of Central African Republicthe BaAkafor the People of the Forest project. The Company has also received accolades for its collaborative project with the Shaolin monks, an unprecedented synthesis of Eastern and Western classical forms that intertwines martial arts and ballet.
LINES Ballet nurtures dynamic artistry and the development of authentic, creative expression through dance. Dedicated to exploring the possibilities of movement from a global perspective, the company performs original works of contemporary ballet created by choreographer Alonzo King. LINES Ballet is unique, not only because of the way it transcends and renews traditional ballet, but also because it is an American ballet company whose choreographer actively develops new work with other artists from diverse disciplines and cultures. Alonzo King understands ballet as a science founded on universal, geometric principles of energy and evolution and develops a new language of movement from its classical forms and techniques. LINES Ballet shares its vision of transformative, revelatory dance through performances and outreach activities worldwide, as well as by cultivating the gifts of developing dancers through the LINES Ballet School, the Joint BFA Program with Dominican University of California, and the Alonzo King LINES Dance Center.According to this section of the NEA website, Alonzo King's LINES Ballet received $20,000 to:
...support the creation and presentation of a new work by Artistic Director and choreographer Alonzo King in collaboration with architect Christopher Haas. The new work will premiere as part of LINES Ballet's fall home season at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.Here's a sample on youtube of LINES Ballet in action...
ALONZO KING (Choreographer, Artistic Director) has been called a visionary choreographer who is altering the way we look at ballet. King calls his works thought structures created by the manipulation of energies that exist in matter through laws, which govern the shapes and movement directions of everything that exists.Here's an entry written by Alonzo King himself from the "Tour Blog":
King has works in the repertories of, the Swedish Royal Ballet, Ballets de Monte Carlo, Frankfurt Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Alvin Ailey, Hong Kong Ballet, NCDT, and Washington Ballet. He has worked extensively in opera, television, and film. Known for collaborations, Kings seminal works include People of the Forest (2001), choreographed with Baka artists from Central African Republic, and Long River High Sky (2007), with Chinas Shaolin Monks. He has collaborated with actor Danny Glover, legendary jazz saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders, Hamza al Din, Pawel Szymanski, Jason Moran and tabla master Zakir Hussain. Renowned for his skill as a teacher, King has been guest ballet master for dance companies around the globe.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010 - Alonzo Kinga comment from another fun entry by Caroline Rocher on January 19, 2010:
[view photo of Alonzo and Howard Zinn at link]
When the company performed in Boston I had lunch with Howard Zinn. We spoke for several hours about his life, the civil rights movement, politics, and art.
He was easy to laugh and easy to cry. I dont remember experiencing an adult so alive. We talked about doing a project together. It was a shock to find out that he left his body a week after meeting him.
It was an unforgettable experience and for me an important exchange.
- Alonzo King
So I am very compassionate to the victims of Haiti, and also amazed at how fast everybody came together and offered assistance. The Obama organization seems to be on top of things (very different from the Hurricane Katrina fiasco) and, while watching Larry King Live yesterday night I found it quite comforting to see so many celebrities and influential personalities doing the impossible to help the Haitian population.here are a few typical entries featuring Alonzo's rather... unique... thoughts:
Flying over the Alps into Bologna I was hypnotized by the mind boggling choreography of mountains. Talk about character. Mountains have nobility and magnificence, and they must all know each other. The Alps have to know about the Himalayas. They must have some form of overarching communication like whales, but through the ether instead of water. And there must be a birth memory of the tectonic plate collision that created each of them. Ive heard mountains described as the frozen laughter of the gods. There is definitely a vibration that emanates from them, and an other worldliness of beyond the beyond. From the aerial view you see them as a range, a family, a brood, on the ground they become individuals each with a uniqueness of shape and statement. Ive met some people who were like mountains, or ironically were actually more like icebergs, not so easy to detect, because they were able to cover the depth and breadth of their intimidating mass by humility, which is one of the signs of a true human mountain.
The development in Waikiki is astonishing. How beautiful a face it was before all the surgery of new construction. But nature loudly proclaims dominance once you get away from Waikiki. Everywhere seen is some brilliant variant of lush green grandeur, crowned with color. The all surrounding presence of ocean, sky, mountains and sweet fragrance steadily reminds you of who was here first. People on vacation smile more, and the local Hawaiians are steeped in the gracious spirit of Aloha. So a kindness and warmth envelop the place. The disease of stress is hardly visible, and people seem to live in the moment. People are sweet here. Kindness wows me each and every time I experience it. I afterwards reflect on the wonder of it as if Id experienced a great performance, work of art, or the Grand Canyon or some other natural wonder. Having lived in big cities for much of life, where often armor, aggression and deadly indifference, are customary, I am startled when someone breaks through with a melodic tone, eager assistance, or a sincere smile. The word recognition means to know again, or recall to mind, and I think on the deeper level thats what is inherent in the experience of kindness. We are cognizant or re-cognizing and seeing through the disguise of dress, nation, the mask of age, race etc., and acknowledging that other is a false notion, and that we are one, in a shared experience on planet earth, and originate from the same Source. In Sri Yukteswars concise masterpiece, The Holy Science, he talks about removing the 7 meannesses of the heart, to reveal the hearts natural inclination which is love, and summarizes that behind all things Love is lifes true goal.
Around the world there are numerous nuclear sites of spiritual energy. Ive been to many in India, Africa, the Americas, and throughout Europe. They are places where seminal figures solved the riddle of life's enigma and achieved transcendence through trial and struggle to set examples for all humanity. Often these atomic sites have been magnetized by the devotional spiritual energies of indigenous peoples for millennia, long before they were the stages for spiritual giants to enact the drama of their lives.An interview with Alonzo from a website entitled "Planet Ill":
Jerusalem is the third most sacred place in Islam. It is where the prophet Muhammad ascended to Heaven. It is where Christ spent the last days of his life and where the Last Supper, Crucifixion and Resurrection took place. It is for Jewish people the Holy City, the Biblical Zion, City of David, and the site of Solomons Temple.
Jerusalem has been claimed, captured, recaptured, reclaimed, destroyed, rebuilt and destroyed again so often throughout history that if it were time lapsed photography from the beginning it would dissolve and evolve like musical waves. Underneath the drone of marketplace and swoosh of city life, the history of warfare past and current, there is the ever present vibration of centuries of worship and devotion, that mark this city as unique in the world. Abrahams progeny are handsome and congenial, quick to assist, and warm in conversation. We had three enthusiastically received performances, visits to Bethlehem, Dead Sea, Mt. Moriah, City of David, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Asqa Mosque, River Jordan, and the Sea of Galilee.
Alonzo King, artistic director of LINES Ballet of San Francisco, founded the company in 1982, combining cultural traditions and classical ballet into a unique art form that communicates not only music but also shared humanity. Since its inception, LINES Ballet has traveled the world and performed before capacity crowds, speaking the internationally interpreted language of dance and bringing a message of global unity. [...]======================================
[Alonzo:] The origin of ballet, contrary to most ballet history books, has its rise in Persian, Indian and Islamic cultures. The term arabesque, the pavane which predated the waltz all speak of other origins. Arabia rose to great power in the seventh and eighth centuries. Arabs conquered and converted peoples from India to Spain, and from the borders of China to northern Egypt. However, their chief contribution to the progress of this Dark Age was the scientific learning which they received mostly through their contact with the decayed but still glorious civilization of India, and which the Arabs disseminated to the Europeans. Many great universities dotted the Moslem world and influenced the later universities of Paris, Oxford and other European centers.
The University of Cairo boasted 12,000 students from all parts of the world, so great was the Arab fame for knowledge in mathematics, physics, chemistry, medicine, pharmacy and the use of anesthetics. The introduction of the so-called Arabic numerals, brought from India, was a great stimulation to the European mind. In algebra and spherical trigonometry, the Arabs made great strides; they built astronomical observatories and produced some of the best astrologers of the time. Their textile fabrics were of marvelous beauty. They followed scientific systems of farming and irrigation, and maintained free schools for the poor.
From the Chinese, with whom they traded, came their knowledge of the manufacture of paper and the use of the magnetic needle in navigation. While the monastery schools in Europe were teaching the flatness of the earth, the Arabs were using globes to teach geography. Arabic translations of Aristotle and other Greeks were the introduction of Europe, in the 15th century, to the genius of Grecian thought and literature. Thus it was that the Arabs played a great constructive part in the onward march of progress. It would be a laughable mistake to think that they didnt bring the geometric understanding of what we call ballet.
Ballet is a science of movement that produces specific results and can be manipulated in countless variations and manifestations. Like yoga, it is based on universal physical principles and modalities.
Viewing the present as the peak of civilization that has emerged from an inferior past is a misconception, which future historians, in the light of much fuller research and more unfettered minds, will discard.
Alonzo King LINES Ballet
go here for profiles of the other 36 San Francisco arts organizations which were recipients of the stimulus money. [coming eventually]
CNSNews article #1 on this topic CNSNews article #2 on this topic
NEA website page that lists all California organizations to receive stimulus money
San Francisco Sentinel: Mayor Gavin Newsom honors Artistic Director of LINES Ballet
Uncommon Knowledge: TERMS OF ENDOWMENT: Government Funding and the Arts: Hoover Institution with guests John Kreidler; Alonzo King; and John Podhoretz
Well Bye Nancy.