Alonzo King

Alonzo King is an American dancer and choreographer working in San Francisco, California. He is known for founding a contemporary ballet company, Alonzo King's LINES Ballet, in 1982.

Alonzo King began his ballet training in Santa Barbara, California with June Lane and moved to New York City to continue his artistic development. He trained at the Harkness School of Ballet and the Alvin Ailey dance school. While attending the American Ballet Theatre School on full scholarship, he studied with Patricia Wilde and Leon Danelian; he was also on full scholarship at the School of American Ballet where he trained with Stanley Williams and Richard Rapp. In New York, King performed with the Harkness Youth Company, apprenticed with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, and danced with Dance Theatre of Harlem, Donald McKayle, Lucas Hoving, and a number of European companies. After returning from New York, he danced with Bella Lewitzky in Los Angeles before moving to San Francisco.

Alonzo King's Lines Ballet

Alonzo King's Lines Ballet is a company composed of dancers trained in classical ballet technique. The choreography uses recognizable ballet steps, and the women sometimes dance on point, but the dances do not conform strictly either to the principles of modern dance or to those of classical ballet. The company is known for its global perspective on dance, and critics often comment on the "new language" or "re-invention of form" evinced by King's choreography. A number of the company's dancers have received the Princess Grace Award, which honors extraordinarily talented young performing artists.


King frequently collaborates with artists not regularly associated with classical ballet. For instance, "The People of the Forest" was a collaboration with the Aka Pygmies (2001); "The Moroccan Project" involved a group of musicians from North Africa; (Fall 2005), "Sky Clad" was performed with Hindustani vocalist Rita Sahai (Fall 2006) and "Long River High Sky" was an integrative movement project with the Shaolin monks of China (Spring 2007).

King has choreographed works that are presently in the repertoire of several national and international companies, including the Royal Swedish Ballet, Ballett Frankfurt, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater , Dance Theatre of Harlem, The Joffrey Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, the North Carolina Dance Theatre and the Washington Ballet. He has worked with an illustrious group of actors, singers and dancers including ballerina Natalia Makarova, film star Patrick Swayze, and actor Danny Glover. In addition to these partnerships, King has contributed choreography for feature films including "One Last Dance" (2003) and "Alonzo King Goes to Venice" (2005); the latter was screened at the 2005 Lincoln Center Dance Festival in New York and was a feature presentation at the Dance Camera West Festival in Los Angeles. In March 2004 King was profiled on KQED-TV’s Spark program [ [ KQED Spark program (streaming video)] ] . King is also credited with the choreography for Karina Epperlein’s 2007 film "Phoenix Dance". Starring Homer Avila, "Phoenix Dance" was one of eight documentaries listed for an Oscar nomination.

King has received five Isadora Duncan Awards and an NEA Choreographer’s Fellowship and the Irvine Dance Fellowship. In 2005 he was named Master of African-American choreography by the Kennedy Center and awarded a Bessie Award for choreography. King is the recipient of one of four Fellowships in Dance (and the only one in California) that was awarded by the United States Artists organization in recognition of 50 outstanding living artists in America.

Family history

Alonzo King's rich family history has greatly impacted the African American struggle for political and social equality. [ [ Dance Advance | Dance Advance Archives: Documents ] ] This history is partially detailed in "Open Dem Cells: a Pictorial History of the Albany Movement", by Mary Royal Jenkins. [ [ "Open Dem Cells: a Pictorial History of the Albany Movement", by Mary Royal Jenkins] ]

Alonzo King is the son of prominent civil rights activists Slater King and Valencia King Nelson. Slater King was a successful real estate broker who focused his entrepreneurial skills on farsighted plans to help African Americans in Albany and Dougherty County achieve economic independence. Valencia King, his mother, a social worker and genealogist started an online genealogy resource for African Americans searching their ancestry ( Slater King graduated from Oberlin College and Valencia King Nelson from Ohio State University. [ [ Dance Advance | Dance Advance Archives: Documents ] ]

Alonzo King’s uncle, C. B. King, was a significant African American lawyer known for his courage, courtroom eloquence, and legal skills in the face of fierce and even violent opposition during the civil rights struggle in southwest Georgia. The first black lawyer in the area, C.B. King was an inspiration to an entire generation of young law interns and civil rights activists. Another of Alonzo King’s uncles, Preston King, an accomplished lecturer and professor of philosophy, lived abroad in exile for nearly forty years and cousin, Oona King became only the second black woman to be elected as member of Parliament in 1997 (the first being Diane Abbott). Oona King has been selected as one of 100 Great Black Britons for this achievement.


External links

* [ AfriGeneas African Ancestored Genealogy]
* [ Alonzo King at Dance Advance]
* [ Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet]
* [ Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet/Dominican BFA Program]
* [ King, Alonzo at KQED]
* [ Alonzo King: Dancing with the Moon]
* [ King, C.B.]
* [ King, Preston]
* [ King, Slater]
* [ Spark Interview]
* [ San Francisco Dance Center ]
* [ Alonzo King's LINES Ballet Video]
* [ United States Artists Videos]


*Chance, Julia. “Alonzo King: King of Dance.” In Ebony. Vol. LXIII, No. 1. November 2007: 154-160.
*David, Gwénola. “Alonzo King.” In Danser. No 266. Juin 2007. 24-25.
*Nunes Jensen, Jill. Re-Forming the Lines: A Critical Analysis of Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet.
*Diss. U of California, Riverside, 2005. Ann Arbor: UMI, 2005. 3191678.
*Roseman, Janet Lynn. Dance Masters: Interviews with Legends of Dance. New York: Routledge, 2001. ISBN 0-415-92951-2.
*Roseman, Janet and Alonzo King. Dance Was Her Religion: The Spiritual Choreography of Isadora Duncan,
*Ruth St. Denis and Martha Graham. Hohm Press, 2004. ISBN 978-1890772383
*Ulrich, Allan. “Breathtaking LINES: 25 Years of Alonzo King’s Vision.” In Dance Magazine. Vol. 81, No. 11. November 2007: 34-40.

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