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Anything But Straight: Alonzo King's LINES Ballet

Ethereal hardly begins to describe the performances by Alonzo King’s eight classically trained LINES dancers (the ninth dancer, Laurel Keen, was absent due to injury) in last night’s three-piece set at YBCA’s Novellus Theater.

The San Francisco-based contemporary dance company presented a revival of Signs and Wonders, first choreographed for the Dance Theatre of Harlem in 1995 and recently named an American Masterpiece. Set to indigenous African music, dancers dipped and swirled to tribal rhythms and chanting children, evoking animal spirits in tango-like entwinement and seductive carnal arguments. Lithe bodies rolled flawlessly in slow motion across the stage, showing nature’s grace through delicately flowing movements.

The short duet, Splash, provided a bit of comic relief through playful animation. Danced to circus-like cartoon music, this piece was a fuchsia foray of fanciful flirting between dancers Meredith Webster and Corey Scott-Gilbert.

The evening’s final number featured the world premiere of Dust and Light, set to classical Baroque music by Francis Poulenc and Arcangelo Corelli. Part purgatory, part animalistic soul resurrection, this biblical revival challenged the dancers to reach deep within. Alonzo King is fond of saying “the goal of ballet isn’t to look pretty but to reach for transcendence” and that, we can say with conviction, it certainly did.

Read more about LINES dancer, Caroline Rocher, who was featured as one of our very own 2008 Hot 20 Under 40.

The company’s spring home season ends on April 26, but you can follow the LINES Ballet dancers’ blog until they return to YBCA in the fall.