Alonzo King

Doris Duke Artist Award, 2015

San Francisco, CA

Since 1982, Alonzo King’s San Francisco-based LINES Ballet has nurtured artistry and creative expression through dance performance and education. Drawing from diverse cultural and spiritual traditions, his choreography imbues classical ballet with new expressive potential and connects audiences worldwide to a profound sense of shared humanity. He has collaborated with distinguished visual artists, composers, and musicians including Pharaoh Sanders, Zakir Hussain, and most recently, vocalist Lisa Fischer. Renowned for his skill as a teacher, his educational philosophy undergirds the LINES pre-professional Training Program, Summer Program, and BFA Program at Dominican University. His choreography is in the repertories of numerous companies including Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo and the Joffrey Ballet. Honors include many NEFA National Dance Project grants and a Master of Choreography Award from the Kennedy Center (2005). In 2015, he was named one of America’s “Irreplaceable Dance Treasures” by the Dance Heritage Coalition. His new work with jazz masters Jason Moran and Charles Lloyd premiered in 2016.

  • Photo Credit: Franck Thibault
    Alonzo King
  • Alonzo King- Biophony (2015) :
    Biophony (2015)
  • Alonzo King- The Propelled Heart with Lisa Fischer (2015):
    The Propelled Heart with Lisa Fischer (2015)
  • Alonzo King- Writing Ground (2013) : /122661453
    Writing Ground (2013)
  • Alonzo King- Rasa (2007): /122660250
    Rasa (2007)
  • Photo Credit: by RJ Muna
  • Title: Resin (2011)
  • Photo Credit: Franck Thibault
    Bucket of water

Thinking back to the start of your career, what is the most useful advice you ever received?

The earliest and best advice I received was to be your Self. Polonius' celebrated advice to his son Laertes, “To thine own self be true,” has often been erroneously understood to mean, “do what feels good; or cater to your own egocentric whims.” The true meaning is to awake and realize who and what you really are, and honor that Self which dwells within, and which animates these physical bodies that we will one day discard. In many ways the artistic path is like the spiritual path: Geiger counter, gold tester, bloodhound, which only seeks truth, and rejects all that is false.