HeadLINES | Vol 1, Issue 2, Winter 2020

Page 1

VO L . 1, I S S U E 1I , W I N T E R 2 0 2 0

Madeline DeVries

I Alonzo King LINES Ballet I ® Photo by RJ Muna


T H E L AT E S T

FROM ALONZO KING


C R E AT I V I T Y A N D T H E H U M A N S P I R I T

Alonzo King and the Dean of Grace Cathedral Malcolm Young add depth and texture to their year-long conversation about our spiritual and corporeal selves in this conversation from October 2019, part of the Cathedral’s Forum series. As the Cathedral’s Artist in Residence, King has shared how his internal, spiritual life radiates outward to influence his creative process, the community, and his unique worldview. Don’t miss these upcoming events with Grace Cathedral and LINES Ballet! January 19, 2019 at 11am | Alonzo King will preach at Grace Cathedral’s morning service in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. February 7-8, 2019 | A world-premiere, site-specific performance by the LINES Ballet company at the Grace Cathedral chapel, the culmination of King’s 2019-20 residency. Tickets are limited, reserve yours today. T H E A RT O F C H A N G E W I T H A LO N ZO K I N G

Alonzo King sat down with LINES Ballet’s longtime partner, Bank of the West, to discuss the qualities he looks for in collaborators, bringing his vision of a dance company that reflects the world’s diversity to life, and giving back to the community. “We all start with me. And then with more development, it becomes we. Inevitably, it goes into oneness, where the plant, the animal, the chemical, it’s no different than me. So I won’t tear this mountain down thinking of what kind of money I can generate from its demise, because I’m part of that oneness.” ALONZO KING

on the power of art to build our collective humanity and elicit social change The Latest from Alonzo King continued on page 15.


I L L U M I N AT I N G T H E P O S S I B L E W I T H FILMMAKER NICOLE MILLER by Sierra Lee

Commissioned by SFMOMA, Nicole Miller’s multi-sensory video installation To the Stars is a love letter to the next generation. The film juxtaposes portraits of prominent figures of color in the arts and sciences, including Alonzo King and the LINES Ballet dancers, with personal stories from San Francisco middle school students, many of whom are dealing with trauma and hardship. Featured alongside King and the dancers are opera singer J’Nai Bridges, violinist Jessica McJunkins, and NASA astronaut Yvonne Cagle. Weaving together the non-narrative work are dazzling lasers that transport the audience to a magical realm full of light and possibility. The combined impact of the poignant interviews, behind-thescenes footage, and brilliant lights is a powerful affirmation that the future holds infinite potential for our young people. Experience the film at free bi-monthly screenings at the museum’s Phyllis Wattis Theater. Sierra Lee is the Associate Director of Development at Alonzo King LINES Ballet.

Nicole Miller, film participants, and the LINES Ballet dancers at the premiere of To the Stars. Pictured l to r, San Francisco educator Charmaine Shuford; LINES Ballet dancers Maya Harr, Ilaria Guerra, and Adji Cissoko; filmmaker Nicole Miller; astronaut Yvonne Cagle; and LINES Ballet dancers Michael Montgomery and Lorris Eichinger.

Alonzo King LINES Ballet

Michael Montgomery

I Alonzo King LINES Ballet I ® Photo by Nicole Miller

I ® Photo by Rachel Ash


“ I grew up as a ballet dancer. I was the only dancer of color that I knew about when I was a kid. I didn’t have any idols to look up to as ballet dancers, dancers of color. And then when I was in my 20s, I saw LINES Ballet, and I just remember weeping watching them. It was so amazing. And soon as I came to San Francisco and started on this project, I knew that was the first thing I was going to pursue filming.” NICOLE MILLER

EXPERIENCE

a free screening at the SFMOMA


Jamie Wright

I Alonzo King LINES Ballet I ÂŽ Photo by Sierra Lee

S TA F F S P O T L I G H T

ON JAMIE WRIGHT

Dance Center Senior Coordinator Jamie Wright is a familiar face for generations of LINES Dance Center students. Learn more about Jamie’s dance journey and how he pays it forward in the dance community.


How long have you been with LINES Ballet, and what first drew you to the organization? I’ve had an appreciation for music and dance from a young age, and I played in and composed music for the Stanford Marching Band in college. I’ve been a fan of the LINES Ballet company for over 30 years and used to have LINES postcards displayed in my office! When I first started immersing myself in the greater San Francisco dance community and taking dance classes 22 years ago, LINES was a natural place for me to go. I began working at the Dance Center not long after transitioning from a career as the Marketing Vice President at a large regional bank What’s the most rewarding part of your job? I’ve enjoyed using my background in marketing to help promote the Dance Center and ensure an excellent customer experience. As the founder and artistic director of my own dance company, The DanceWright Project, meeting artists in the community is important to me as well. The friendships I have made through LINES have sparked inspiration and new creative partnerships. What’s your favorite work in the LINES Ballet repertoire? My first and favorite LINES performance is Who Dressed You Like a Foreigner? from 1998 featuring the first generation of LINES dancers - Marina Hotchkiss, Maurya Kerr, Lauren Porter, Debra Rose, Greg Dawson. Foreigner spoke to me because it put me in the place of a wanderer who was slightly apart from the group. That is a role for which I have great empathy. Why is dance important to you? Dance is an artform that allows intense athleticism without the dominance and contentiousness of other sports. It allows you to be gentle without being soft, and that is a great balance for other aspects of life, too. I have a great appreciation for the San Francisco dance community - it’s very punk-rock and encourages experimentation, failure, and growth. It has provided me with so many opportunities to perform and choreograph, and I like passing on those opportunities to other dancers through my work at LINES, my company, and as a Committee Member of the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards. What are you looking forward to in 2020? I want to continue to be of service and approach my work at the Dance Center with humility.


G RO W I N G A COMMUNITY OF DANCERS K I C K- O F F T H E N E W Y E A R W I T H A L L YO U C A N DA N C E

On January 19, the LINES Dance Center will welcome 250 dancers of all ages and skill levels to celebrate the 11th annual All You Can Dance event. New and returning students will enjoy a sampling of classes from ballet and modern to hiphop and world dance with live musical accompaniment, led by the entire LINES Ballet faculty. Embedded in Alonzo King’s philosophy of dance for “each and every body,” LINES is excited to offer four hours of unlimited classes for just $10 to reach new communities of diverse dancers.

“ All You Can Dance is such a great way for our dance community to experience the variety of classes we have on offer at the Dance Center all in one day. We really enjoy welcoming new faces to our studios and seeing our regulars try out new styles. There is really a sense of community all day, and everyone who attends leaves with a smile” JEN BAKANE Associate Dance Center Director, LINES Ballet

REGISTER

J A N U A RY AT T H E DA N C E C E N T E R

B R I N G YO U R B U D D I E S !

67% increase in Dance Center attendance 250 All You Can Dance registrants 80 classes a week

All of January, get one FREE class when you bring a friend.


All You Can Dance

I

Alonzo King LINES Ballet ® Photo by Andrew Weeks


NURTURING CLARITY AND GROWTH: A N I N T E R V I E W W I T H TA Y L O R M A U R C H I E - B A N K S by Zara Anwar

Taylor Maurchie-Banks Alonzo King LINES Ballet I ® Photo by Doug Kaye


Taylor Maurchie-Banks is a first-year LINES Ballet Training Program student from Illinois. Taylor leveraged his strength and flexibility from years of cheerleading to transition to dance training with Dance Dimension Academy and Northern Illinois University at 18. While attending the 2019 LINES Ballet Summer Program, Training Program Director Karah Abiog recognized his potential and invited him to join the program that fall. Taylor is the recipient of a full-merit scholarship thanks to the generosity of LINES Ballet donors. What first attracted you to LINES Ballet and the Training Program?

I first discovered LINES Ballet through Adji Cissoko’s Instagram! I started researching the company and was drawn to the dancers’ raw technique, movement quality, and freedom. I thought, “I want to move like that,” in my own way. What has it been like to work with Alonzo King? I worked with Alonzo during both the Summer and Training programs, and it was so challenging. We start his classes with floor exercises, and within the first few minutes he’s already pushing our physical limits. After the class you’re so proud of yourself because of the boundaries you surpassed. He challenges us to live within the shapes we’re creating with our bodies and pushes us to find the balance between our mind, body, and spirit. What are some major takeaways from his classes? Be unapologetically you - no one is ever going to move like you. Find the awareness, precision, and clarity in every movement. All of the teachers are grounded in Alonzo’s philosophy as well - it’s what sets LINES apart. What have you learned about yourself through the Training Program? I’ve learned I have a long way to go, I seek validation, and I need to work on my details. I’ve also learned that I am special. What are your goals for the future? It was my dream to train with LINES Ballet, and now that I’m here, I want to be consistent, confident, and courageous. My greatest goal is growth - it never stops. How has the Training Program scholarship impacted you? The scholarship has made this 100% possible. My family and I wouldn’t have been able to support the cost of living in San Francisco in addition to the cost of the Training Program. It’s really making my dreams a reality, and I’m really thankful. I can’t wait to see where I end up in two years. Zara Anwar is an intern in the LINES Development department and a senior in LINES Ballet’s BFA program at Dominican University of California.


CHANNELING THE GREATNESS WITHIN: REFLECTIONS FROM THE BFA CLASS OF 2020 by Zara Anwar

BRANDON GRAHAM What has been your most memorable experience in the BFA program? My most memorable moment was in [former LINES company member] Maurya Kerr’s improvisation class. We were so submerged in our experience that it brought not only me but other classmates to tears. To be able to experience your emotions thoroughly is rare and special. This program pulls so much out of you from the most genuine part of your being, which not only changes the way you dance but changes the way you live and experience life. What four words best describe your experience? Experimental, loving, individual, blessing.

Brandon Graham I Alonzo King LINES Ballet ® Photo by Steve Disenhof

Brandon Graham I Alonzo King LINES Ballet ® Photo by Doug Kaye


Madison Palmer I Alonzo King LINES Ballet ® Photo by Steve Disenhof

M A D I S O N PA L M E R What has been your most memorable experience in the BFA program? The greatest memory I will walk away with is that of my senior year Alonzo Week. Having attended the Summer Program twice and worked with Alonzo my freshman through sophomore year, I was astounded by how personal this experience felt and how much knowledge he still had to share. During class he asked us, “How many of you put yourselves down?” and all of our hands shot up. The next day we sat down together and worked on affirmations to remind ourselves of the greatness that lives within us at all times. I still practice saying my affirmation in my head any time I feel myself struggling. It was humbling to work with someone who wants to uncover and bring forth your truest artist. What four words best describe your experience? Nurturing, possibility, discovery, full.


STO R I E S

F R O M T H E ROA D

Welcome Lorris! Lorris Eichinger joined Alonzo King LINES Ballet in May 2019 following his tenure at the Jeune Ballet de Lyon (France), De Dutch Don’t Dance (Netherlands), and Kamea Dance Company (Israel). This November, he returned to his hometown of Échirolles, France, the first stop on LINES Ballet’s six-city European tour this winter. There, he received a warm welcome from his family as well as his hometown community and the local media.

Lorris’ parents joined the LINES Ballet company for a celebratory photo following their November 2019 performance in Échirolles.

F O L LO W T H E C O M PA N Y

to their next performance


From his childhood dance debut at the nearby Conservatory of Grenoble to his French debut with LINES Ballet, Lorris’ career has come full circle. His triumphant return was covered extensively in the local French media.

Lorris and his parents sharing a joyful moment after his Échirolles debut.

“ It was very special to perform where I started dancing, to look back at my journey and what

it took to now be on that stage with LINES. Seeing my parents and family so proud is an incomparable feeling, and I was so happy to perform for them after everything they have done for me.” LORRIS EICHINGER


T H E L AT E S T

FROM ALONZO KING Continued from page 3

The Mind, Will and Heart BY ALONZO KING

LINES Ballet Artistic Director Alonzo King Shares Insights Into His Creative Process

Alonzo King © Franck Thibault

Michael Montgomery © RJ Muna

Alonzo King 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. Since 1982, King, celebrated for his “astonishing originality” by the New York Times, has collaborated with noted composers, musicians and visual artists from around the world. This month, from October 1-6 at YBCA, King is collaborating with tenor saxophonist Charles Lloyd and pianist Jason Moran on a new ballet. His unique artistic vision adheres to the classical form — the linear, mathematical and geometrical principles that are deeply rooted in the preexisting East-West continuum. Here, King shares his thoughts on his creative process.

P

eople often ask me about my creative process. It usually starts with an idea

The model I use in creating is based on the Primary Model, as exhibited in the exhaustless creativity manifested in nature. Not in its appearance but rather its mode of operation; and as expressed in the metaphysical statement, "as above, so below." In his book, "The Mysterious Universe," astrophysicist James Jean states, “The universe looks more and more like a great thought rather than a great machine.” We have three incomparable superpowers: the mind, will, and heart. The nuclear powerhouse of the human body is the mind. It is the principle architect for both creativity and liberation. As Athena sprung from the head of Zeus, so too, thought is the birth of causation. Our lives are the result of our thoughts — and any desired change in pattern requires a change in thought. Our journey toward a goal is often accompanied by obstacles. This allows us to develop the latent powers that are hidden within. The mind, when disciplined, is all conquering. Science, as well as ancient mystic traditions, acknowledges that as yet we have not fully accessed the totality of the mind’s unlimited possibilities. Once the mind affirms that something must be accomplished, the will engages and produces indefatigable energy that can stand steadfast against every obstacle. It is the undistracted mind, ever focused on the vision and fueled by willpower, that creates. Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic, "Autobiography of a Yogi," called willpower as symbolized in the human spine, the ‘magic wand’ of the body. Finally, we cannot forget the heart. The law of the universe is based in love, because love is law. Love is the summation of everything. These forces drive my collaborations. My aim is to build something with my collaborators that would otherwise not exist as an offering to the common good. We are building a premiere with a team of brilliant artists — Charles Lloyd, Jason Moran, the 12 dance artists at LINES, Robert Rosenwasser, Jim Campbell, Jim French — and an invisible behind-the-scenes armada of brilliant minds, all contributing to launching this new vessel. Constant activity can pull us away from having an interior life. It is an incredible honor to have people pause their fast-paced lives to come to listen to what is being said for an uninterrupted hour. When you come to the theater you are being asked to step into your own inner world. I create because I want to offer humanity a truth and a beauty that will awaken the memory of the divinity that exists within all of us.

a vision. andI E S C R EorAT I NThatGvision S requires H I Ma blueprint M E Rcombined I N GwithRwill, E intuition, ALIT energetic vibration. Sometimes the first blueprints of ideas appear in crude forms. It requires stillness, relaxation, and intensified awareness to fully comprehend and refine those forms into shimmering realities. In all creation the components are light, sound, movement and the cosmic intelligence inherent in those properties. Light is condensed thought; sound is creative vibration; movement is energy.

A union of the mind, will, and heart has propelled Alonzo King’s creative process for the past 37 years. He shared these insights in the September 2019 issue of SF/ ARTS Monthly. “I create because I want to offer humanity a truth and a beauty that will awaken the memory of the divinity that exists within all of us.” ALONZO KING

READ

the full ar ticle

For more information on LINES Ballet's Fall Season World Premiere, see page 13.


A COMMUNIT Y OF THOUGHT LEADERS

Alonzo King’s 2011 essay “Art Thought” was selected for inclusion in the California Institute of Integral Studies’ The Best of Mission at Tenth (2009 - 2019). Over the past ten years, the journal has provoked dialogue among artists working across form, genre, and discipline and celebrated the diversity of San Francisco’s arts community. King’s essay is included alongside poems and essays by sculptor/ furniture-maker William Rhodes, writer Natalie Baszile (Queen Sugar), and Emmy award-winning playwright Susan Griffin. “It is the mind and heart that dance, sing, and play - not the body.” ALONZO KING

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SPRING HOME SEASON PREVIEW

Lorris Eichinger

I Alonzo King LINES Ballet I ® Photo by RJ Muna

This spring, audiences will have a rare opportunity to experience the rich body of work created over four decades by Alonzo King in a new retrospective performance. From the archive of collaborations with extraordinary artists Zakir Hussain, Sabir Khan, Jason Moran, and Pharoah Sanders and music composed by JS Bach and Handel flow 12 pieces that have moved LINES audiences from the 1980s to the present. The two-part program also features an exclusive encore performance of King’s ballet commissioned by Grace Cathedral, which draws inspiration from diverse sacred music traditions and investigates the relationship between our spiritual and physical selves. “ Mr. King’s dancers are both free and precise;

they possess an uninhibited consciousness of their bodies in space.” T H E N E W YO R K T I M E S

S P R I N G H O M E S E A S O N : A P R I L 10 -19, 2 0 2 0 Blue Shield of California Theater at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Available January 29, 2020

| Donor Pre-Sale

Available February 5, 2020

| General Public

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Become a donor today and receive early access to spring season tickets and other year-round benefits.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

| LINES Ballet’s Reaching for the Stars Gala