Alonzo King LINES Biophony & The Propelled Heart at Swarthmore College, October 5th

The William J. Cooper Foundation with the Department of Music and Dance at Swarthmore College present Alonzo King LINES Ballet Biophony and The Propelled Heart. The performance will be on Thursday, October 5, 2017 at 8 PM in the Pearson-Hall Theatre in the Lang Performing Arts Center on the Swarthmore College campus.  A master class will be held on Wednesday, October 4th at 11:30 AM in the Troy Dance Studio in the Lang Performing Arts Center.

Alonzo King LINES Ballet is a celebrated contemporary ballet company that has been guided since 1982 by the unique artistic vision of Alonzo King. Collaborating with noted composers, musicians, and visual artists from around the world, Alonzo King creates works that draw on a diverse set of deeply rooted cultural traditions, imbuing classical ballet with new expressive potential. Alonzo King understands ballet as a science – founded on universal, geometric principles of energy and evolution – and continues to develop a new language of movement from its classical forms and techniques. Alonzo King’s visionary choreography, brought to life by the extraordinary LINES Ballet dancers, is renowned for connecting audiences to a profound sense of shared humanity.

Biophony: Called “riveting” by the San Francisco Chronicle, Biophony is Alonzo King’s newest work in collaboration with natural soundscape artist Bernie Krause and composer Richard Blackford. For more than forty years, Krause has traveled the globe with microphones tuned to the earth and its creatures. His vast archive catalogs the collective sound of entire ecosystems – what Krause terms biophony. From the rainforests of Borneo to a waterhole in Kenya, from the Alaskan tundra to a meadow high in the Sierra Nevada mountains, his recordings carry imprints of habitat in peril.

On stage these soundscapes reveal an intricate living orchestra cradling nature in suspension. The dancers’ senses are heightened amid calls of killer whales and tree frogs; their sweat seems to mingle with the mud, salt, and dust of their new sonic environments. They dance without ego, immersed in their song, unaware of being watched. We see classical technique refracted, distilled to an elemental purity that reminds us of our fellowship with all creatures; we see shoulder blades recast as vestigial wings. Biophony takes place not at the threshold of the civilized and primal, but at the rejoining of two worlds never meant to be apart.

The Propelled Heart: Of his aspiration to work with Grammy Award winning vocalist Ms. Lisa Fischer, Alonzo King says, “Lisa Fischer is a brilliant artist with a fully throbbing heart and expansive mind. She is an inspiration of sound, body, and being.” With a voice resplendent in its strength and range, Ms. Fischer has shared the stage with musical luminaries of nearly every genre, including Mick Jagger, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Beyoncé and Sting. The twelve dancers of LINES Ballet are her newest collaborators in The Propelled Heart, a work that pays tribute to the power of song. King explores the kinetics of the human voice, revealing the communicative potential of the body as an instrument, and also as vocal chord. The piece is a voyage; standing sentinel at the inchoate, pre-verbal beginning, Ms. Fischer impels the dancers’ evolution. Under her gaze they radiate, churning noise into harmony, hearts ablaze.

Says Olivia Sabee Assistant Professor and Interim Director of Dance, “We’re thrilled to welcome Alonzo King LINES Ballet to the Lang Performing Arts Center this fall, especially in the context of a growing interest on our campus in ballet and ballet-based contemporary dance. These are spectacular dancers performing really terrifically inventive work, and our students are so lucky to have the opportunity to see the company right here in Swarthmore.”

The event is free and open to the public.  Please visit http://www.swarthmore.edu/dance-program for more information.

The William J. Cooper Foundation provides a varied program of lectures, performances and exhibitions which enriches the academic work of Swarthmore College. The Foundation was established by William J. Cooper who specified that the income from his gift should be used “in bringing to the college eminent citizens of this and other countries who are leaders in statesmanship, education, the arts, sciences, learned professions and business.” Planning for next season is currently underway.

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