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LINES Ballet 

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Angela Sterling

Alonzo King LINES Ballet brings two new pieces to the HSU Van Duzer Theater on Thursday, Sept. 12, at 8 p.m. Humboldt dance aficionados regularly travel to San Francisco to see the latest LINES programs. If you enjoy classical or contemporary ballet, or the fusion of different art forms, don't miss this opportunity to see the newest works here in town. Both pieces are unique collaborations: one with musician Edgar Meyer and the other with Dublin-born writer Colum McCann.

"Meyer" is titled for its composer, Edgar Meyer – a household name among classical and folk audiences for his stellar performances on double bass and piano, including ensemble projects with Joshua Bell, Alison Krauss, Mark O'Connor, Nickel Creek and Yo-Yo Ma. This new for 2013 contemporary/classical ballet includes seven movements of music commissioned specifically for LINES and recorded on double bass and piano (played by Meyer), plus cello and violin. Synchronized images of water, created by Academy Award winning designer Jim Doyle, reflect the playful contemplation of the piece.

LINES Choreographer and Artistic Director Alonzo King sees art arising from the headwaters of nature. "In a large and odd sounding way," he says, "art becomes the nature that we have in cities. Because art's origin is in nature. All the things that are in dancing ... what is pirouette? ... It's an eddy, it's a whirlpool."

The second piece, "Writing Ground" was commissioned for Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo to inaugurate the Centenary of the Ballets Russes in 2010. The piece returns to the United States this fall for its first performances danced by LINES. In this collaboration, Colum McCann created a literary work that King then used as inspiration for a ballet. McCann is no stranger to the dance world; his published novels include Dancer, a fictional account of the life of Rudolf Nureyev – but this was his first experience working directly with a choreographer.

McCann's writing started out as a libretto, and then evolved into poetry about risk, language, identity and personal story. In McCann's piece, a character begins "to write her life on pillowcases... Her bed became her history... The lives she wrote conjured up those who were absent." McCann explores the ease with which we can get lost in resurrecting the past, and what compels us into the future. These motifs evoked for King our "endless trillions of thoughts" as we strive toward happiness, "and how ultimately those words become sacred texts which design our lives." In response, the choreographer selected 14 sacred musical works through which his dancers could segue in search of clarity, from a Koran sura to a shofar's call, and from Jerusalem to Brittany and beyond.

Tickets for this CenterArts performance are $45 adults, $25 children, $15 HSU students. Reservations at 826-3928 or

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