Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

August 5, 2015

Alonzo King Lines Ballet

Jacobs Pillow, Becket, MA
through July 19, 2015
By Mary Ann Dennis

“The ground is sacred, it is where you leave an imprint,” Philip Szporer quotes Alonzo King’s philosophy in a pre-show “talk” at Jacob's Pillow. What an imprint these dancers have left on the Ted Shawn Stage.

Alonzo King, artistic director, founder and choreographer is a ballet visionary and his San Francisco-based company astonishes the Berkshire audience with modern elegant ballets first of which is Concerto for Two Violins set where dancers mirror the back and forth of the dueling violins. Accompanying them is the full cast of powerful, expressive, and extraordinary dancers.

The second phase of this piece is filled with double duets that explore every pattern possible. The dynamic foursome display smooth and controlled connections, never apart from each other but for a second only as they glide from one combination of relationships to another.

Kicking off the final section, the piece explodes visually, not only with the sound and lights but from a line of dancers which dramatically splashes into a multiplicity that fills the stage giving the appearance as if there was a huge ensemble. The lighting design is incredibly executed.

The Men’s Quintet can be described as powerful, athletic, honest, generous and fearless. The dance is set to the stunning  Violin Concerto Movement 1 by Edgar Meyer. King’s variety of combinations, rhythms and patterns is lush. To watch the four men catch the one in a flying leap is breathtaking.

The conclusion of the performance was the East Coast premiere Biophony. The sound features the glory of the animal kingdom including: Amazonian frogs, African bees, humpback whales, rumbling elephants, and more.

Szporer states that the norm is that many dancers move from one company to another. However, members are known to stay with King, because he encourages the dancers' involvement with the choreography. King lets his dancers bring out the inner truth of the movement.

Two words; brilliant and captivating!