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julip

The Lines in Seattle

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Last night I attended a performance of The Lines Contemporary Ballet in Seattle. The were performing the new full-length work People of the Forest.I was absolutley floored by it.

People of the Forest is a collaborative work between Alonzo King and a group of 16 BaAka people (aka pygmies). The BaAka provide the music, the inspiration, and much of the movement. Fusion works such as this frequently do not work. You see the ballet, you see the ethnic, you see the modern...but you don't see them together at the same time in one movement. King is able to absolutley fuse everything together without notice as to what movement come from what technique.

From beginning to end I was on the edge of my seat, mesmerized. The only faults I found at all were the excessive use of excessive extensions to the side and the somtimes lack of any unison in sections that appeared as if they should have been unison (but would that have detracted from the feeling of naturalness throughout the piece?).

This was one of the most moving programs I have been to, period.

After the program there was a Q&A with Alonzo King. It was interesting to me the amount of people who thought that King was exploting the BaAka. The BaAka have toured Europe and the Americas for close to seventeen years before they began their collaboration with King. The work presented was definetly done with truthfullness and honor. It was a program of sharing and joy.

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I saw this in SF when they performed it here.

Although I enjoyed it, I found the two troups strangly separated and disjointed. The piece was the most effective when they integrated. I thought the BaAka were much more interesting than Lines, but that is probably because I haven't seen much like them before. I hated the costumes on the Lines dancers. What do space-age Jetsons costumes have to do with anything else that was on stage?

But as I said. I really enjoyed this work. I left the theater energized.

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I'm afraid I missed Lines, it was at NJPAC the same day as my own concert. Was a similar mix also being done with the Australian Ballet and Bangarra Dance Theater (an Australian aboriginal group) a while back?

The interesting difference between these two comments to me is that while Julip saw the whole evening as integrated, LMC saw the pieces as disjointed. For those who got to see this performance, as well as you two, I'm curious, what made you feel the parts did (didn't) meld into a whole?

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The 'space-age jetson's costumes' to me were more of an abstraction of creatures of a forest...exotic birds and the like. They did not appear as people to me. The BaAka did appear as people. Toward the end when they did begin to dance more and more together, it was if the people were coming together with their environment.

The only section that did not seem to fit was the most abstract one in which one man is dancing with a white box and after which he is stripped down and reclothed in a way that makes him appear almost as a leper. A bit later the box reappears on another dancers head. This bit did not seem to work for me, maybe someday I will understand it.

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