Guest blogger Danielle Marie Georgiou is the artistic director and choreographer of DGDG: Danielle Georgiou Dance Group. She also serves as Assistant Director of UT-Arlington’s Dance Ensemble. And she’s a member of Muscle Nation.
Stunning. Fierce. Evocative. New. These are the words generally used when Alonzo King’s name is brought up in conversation. His work is known nationally and internationally, and is described as having the ability to personify our emotions and to bring forth a sense of humanity. Dallas will become witness to this on Saturday, January 25 as King and his company, LINES, bring two of their repertoire pieces, Resin (2011) and Scheherazade (2009) to the Winspear Opera House stage.
LINES is known for doing just what its name represents: create shapes, redefine geometrical patterns, and construct a new language for contemporary ballet. Since, 1982, the company has been working and staging King’s original choreography. Thirty years later, they are moving forward with even more inventive work that promotes the spirit of collaboration and has firmly placed King among the greats of American choreographers.
I had the chance to speak with King just days before his arrival to Dallas to discuss his thoughts on choreography and collaboration.
- Alonzo King LINES Ballet performs for one night only at the Winspear Opera House on Saturday, January 25 at 8:00pm.
Danielle Georgiou: How did you first get involved with dance? What prompted you to become a dancer, and now a choreographer?
Alonzo King: My mother was a dancer. I received a lot of information by observing how she moved. She encouraged me and I enjoyed it, and so
it has continued.
DG: How did the formation of your company, LINES, come about? And what does the name symbolize?
AK: Robert Rosenwasser, Pam Hagen and myself began the company in 1982. The term LINES alludes to all that is visible in the phenomenal world. There is nothing that is made or formed without line. Straight line and circle encompass all that we see. Whatever can be seen is formed by line. In mathematics it is a straight or curved continuous extent of length without breadth. Lines are in our fingerprints, the shapes of our bodies, constellations, geometry. It implies genealogical connection, progeny and spoken word. It marks the starting point and finish. It addresses direction, communication, and design. A line of thought. A boundary or eternity. A melodic line. The equator. From vibration or dot-to-dot, it is the visible organization of what we see.
DG: What inspires you?
AK: Most human beings want to accomplish something while on planet earth. The opportunity for self expansion and to bring beauty into the world is motivating.
DG: There always seems to be an underlying, or prevalent, spiritual theme to your work. Does that come from a personal place, or does it come from something more metaphysical and conceptual?
AK: Creativity is the inherent birthright of all human beings—it is our most natural state. Everyone is some kind of artist if they are serious about their life and are making some effort to change, help others and be creative. The majority of art that exists in the world from pre-recorded history to the present is about making the invisible visible, about a sense of awe in what we call the everyday, and about the effort to see what is behind appearance and form. All matter is composed of spirit—it is inescapable.
DG: Collaboration is a key element to your process. When did you start working collaboratively, and why do you continue to do so? What are the rewards, and the risks?
AK: Everything is a collaboration. To get out of the bed in the morning, your will has to be engaged to cajole your body, and your body has to participate through cooperation—they work together. The people one works with aren’t Lego’s—they are human beings with thoughts, feelings and personal perspectives. No one does anything alone—its impossible.
DG: What advice do you have for young dancers pursuing dance as either a career or educational goal?
AK: It’s important to have a personal relationship with dance outside of your academic training. You must have a romance and communication in dance that is unique to you and exists in you like no other. It’s important to realize that everything has meaning and to the best of your ability, to discern what the meaning is behind all things. Observe trees, human behavior, animals, nature, how things are made, from broom to rocket ship. Be unshakably honest with yourself, others, and in all that you do. Live a life of introspection and service. Train with the best in the field. Associate with dancers that you admire. Sometimes that association can’t happen personally, so read the lives of great artists regardless of discipline, and watch them or their work. Make lots of mistakes. Never take criticism personally, if there is truth in it or if it is useful use and apply it. Love what you are doing and don’t seek reward. Learn as soon as possible that the body is an instrument and is separate from what you are. Just as the pianist is not the piano. Immersion is your art, should expand your heart, mind and develop your character. Dancing itself is a teacher. Listen, while moving, to what is being internally communicated and experienced. Believe in yourself and know that everything will improve if you are making effort.