Alonzo King Wins National Honor

Alonzo King, artistic director of Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet and artistic director of the Dominican BFA in dance program, has been awarded a United States Artists Fellowship for Dance. Alonzo King is one of only 12 California artists to be honored for achievements in artistic excellence and one of 50 artists nationwide to receive this award.

United States Artists was formed last year to support outstanding individual artists in a time when public funding for the arts has become more and more scarce. The Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Prudential Foundation, and the Rasmuson Foundation contributed a total of $20 million to establish USA as a structure through which private philanthropists, corporate donors, and other foundations can support individual artists.

The USA Prudential Fellowship awarded to Alonzo King includes an unrestricted grant of $50,000, intended to directly support his creative work as a choreographer and artistic director of LINES Ballet. Describing his ideas for the future, Alonzo King offers an inspiring goal: “that the work will become more luminous and look less and less like choreography. That it will be an example of conscious living, and will serve as a reminder of what we are, and how life can be lived.”

In commending the merits of Alonzo King’s work, the USA Board of Directors praised his creative integration of forms, as he “works with and beyond the traditions and vocabulary of classical ballet. Drawing on influences from African and jazz dance, and working with a wide variety of world music forms, he favors unrelenting movement in which “lines” form and dissolve rapidly, seamlessly, and—so it would appear—effortlessly.”

The USA Board concluded by recognizing Alonzo King’s vision of ballet as a deeply relevant expression of human experience, stating that “with each new dance, he challenges himself and his dancers to re-imagine ballet as a vehicle for exploring universal themes such as the nature of the spirit and the divine.”

In fall 2006, Dominican and Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet School launched the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Dance. The program combines Dominican’s comprehensive academics with the technically rigorous and artistically expansive dance training of Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet School.

Dance and choreography courses are held at the LINES Ballet’s San Francisco Dance Center (SFDC), the largest dance facility on the West Coast. General education and theory courses are held at Dominican.

The only other BFA in Dance program affiliated with a major ballet company comparable in stature to LINES Ballet is the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center/Fordham University program in New York City.

The LINES/Dominican program offers an opportunity for the pre-professional student of dance not to put on hold their college career. The curriculum combines intensive ballet training with improvisation and composition studies

The curriculum includes ballet, modern dance, ethnic dance, Gyrotonic ®/Gyrokinesis ®, dance history, improvisation, composition, acting, percussion, expository writing, speech and rhetoric, math, anatomy/kinesiology, social sciences, ethics, and a cultural heritage colloquium. A significant portion of each semester is devoted to the study of the choreography of Alonzo King.

Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet was founded in 1982 for the creation and presentation of original ballet in partnership with exceptional contemporary musicians and artists. LINES Ballet has received national and international acclaim for the extraordinary skill of its dancers and for the tangible grace of Alonzo King’s choreography. An international touring company, LINES performs in Europe and America and will expand to Mexico, South America and Asia in the next two years. A five time Isadora Duncan Award recipient, Alonzo King was honored with the prestigious 2005 Bessie Award for Choreography, and four LINES Ballet dancers have received the Princess Grace Award. In 2007, the Company will celebrate its 25th Anniversary with an expanded season in San Francisco, a tour of Asia and gala events throughout the year.

LINES Ballet School was founded four years ago and has grown to be one of the most highly regarded dance instructional institutions in America, with a stellar faculty of internationally renowned professionals, including Alonzo King at its helm.

Posted December 13, 2006