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Flash Review 1, 3-27: LINES
Enlightened by Alonzo in Jersey

By Valerie Madonia
Copyright 2001 Valerie Madonia

NEWARK -- Saturday evening Alonzo King's LINES Contemporary Ballet performed at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. The program showcased two of Alonzo's works, "Soothing the Enemy" and "Who Dressed You Like a Foreigner?" The latter was accompanied by the classical Indian musician and tabla master Zakir Hussain, whose presence helped to elevate the energy in the theater. This quote was included in the program notes for "Foreigner":

There is a stranger going to and fro in this world of ours
Her house is on the further shore of an ocean of mystery
Sometimes she is to be seen in the autumn morning
Sometimes in the flowery midnight
Sometimes we receive an intimation of her in the depths of our heart
Sometimes I hear her voice when I turn my ear to the sky

-- Rabindranath Tagore

Sometimes when we see a performance we hear her voice, and it reminds us how dance can transcend the world around us. Saturday's performance did just that.

I could go into detail and describe individual moments of brilliance and choreographic insight. I could bring you my personal interpretation of the evening, but this was a performance that defies judgment. Let me just say that each exquisite dancer reached for purity in every movement, bringing the excitement of unpredictability to the stage. Alonzo King's fusion of classical ballet, and movement that explores the core of what it means to be human, goes beyond words.

I've spent the last few days digesting what I saw, and in describing a pas de deux between Marina Hotchkiss and Christian Burns to a friend, found myself sobbing uncontrollably at the images they evoked. I went to the performance hoping to be inspired and walked away with an "intimation" in my heart. Thank you, Alonzo King and LINES, for this gift.

Lines will be back at NJPAC (take the path train to Newark & a shuttle bus to the theater) in October. You can also visit LINES's web site for a company tour schedule.


Valerie Madonia danced with the National Ballet of Canada from 1979 to 1981, American Ballet Theatre from 1981 to 1986, and as a principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet from 1987 to 1998. During her time with the Joffrey, she had the incredible good fortune to perform Alonzo King's ballet, "Lila," and later took a leave of absence from the Joffrey to work with King and his company in the spring of 1994. Ms. Madonia now teaches periodically at the Joffrey Ballet School in NYC and directs a dance program in Telluride, Colorado.

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