I’ve got a review in the Chronicle today:
“For those who don’t know, it’s worth stating plainly: Alonzo King is the real deal as a choreographer, one of the few bona fide visionaries in the ballet world today, and we are fortunate to have him and his Lines Ballet in San Francisco.
It’s especially worth stating lest the deeper wonders of his latest project, which opened Friday at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, be overshadowed by sheer novelty. For this 25th anniversary spring season, King has engaged seven Buddhist monks from China’s Shaolin Temple. Renowned for their martial arts, they have lived in San Francisco since 2004 under the auspices of their monastery, and they are spectacular. The older monks flow through Wushu lunges with feline grace, then throw their legs into the air with explosive power; the youngest — two of three 10-year-old triplets — toss themselves into backflips that land them on their heads. In another move, they kick their shins to their eyeballs in full splits and then the twins drop — whap! — to the floor, like a plank.
Amazing feats, to be sure, but perhaps only King could have merged them with ballet in such a way that illuminates the honor and dignity of both forms, instead of engaging in cheap pageantry. He can do this because he’s spent more than two decades stripping ballet of aristocratic veneer and presentational haughtiness, twisting its elemental geometries into a strangely recognizable, strangely alien language that converses with any culture — and speaks earnest, sometimes overly earnest, truths about the human heart.”
King’s collaboration with the Shaolin monks is not without a significant flaw. To find out what, read the full review here.