Choreographer, Artistic Director & Co-Founder

About Alonzo King

Alonzo King has been called a visionary choreographer, who is altering the way we look at ballet. King calls his works “thought structures” created by the manipulation of energies that exist in matter through laws, which govern the shapes and movement directions of everything that exists. Named as a choreographer with “astonishing originality” by The New York Times, Alonzo King LINES Ballet has been guided by his unique artistic vision since 1982.

King has works in the repertories of the world’s leading ballet and modern companies and has collaborated with distinguished visual artists, musicians, and composers across the globe. His work has been recognized for its impact on the cultural fabric of the company’s home in San Francisco, as well as internationally by the dance world’s most prestigious institutions.

King was honored with a Dance Magazine Award in 2020. He received Honorary Doctorates from The Juilliard School, Dominican University of California, and California Institute of the Arts in recognition of his significant contribution to the field of dance. Renowned for his skill as a teacher, King was also honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Corps de Ballet International Teacher Conference in 2012. Joining historic icons in the field, King was named one of America’s “Irreplaceable Dance Treasures” by the Dance Heritage Coalition. An internationally acclaimed guest ballet master, his training philosophy undergirds the educational programming at the Alonzo King LINES Dance Center of San Francisco, which includes the pre-professional Training Program, Summer Program, and the BFA Program at Dominican University of California.


“My parents were willing to die for what they believed in. Their commitment to truth was my tuning fork. What you speak you must live, or else do not speak it. That became my template for how to both behave and create in the world.”

—Alonzo King

Many members of Alonzo’s family were prominent figures in the civil rights movement, including his father, Slater King, who served as the president of the Albany Movement. Visit our blog, LINESConnected, to read about their pioneering efforts.

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“Alonzo King is one of the few, true Ballet Masters of our times. His intimacy with Ballet’s multiple histories has made his choreography rich with the complex refractions that demonstrate a full command of the art’s intricacies…”

William Forsythe, Frankfurt Ballet


2022California Hall of Fame
2022The San Francisco Arts Medallion
2020Dance Magazine Award Honoree
2019 — Honorary Doctorate Degree from The Julliard School
2019Grace Cathedral Artist in Residence
2013 — Doris Duke Foundation Artist Award
2015 — Dance Masters of America President’s Award
2013 — White Bird Dance Barney Choreographic Prize
2012 — San Francisco Museum & Historical Society Treasure Award
2012CORPS de Ballet International Lifetime Achievement Award
2010 — Honorary Doctorate Degree from Dominican University of California
2009 — Danze & Danza Award for Best Choreographer
2008San Francisco’s 2nd Annual Mayor’s Art Award
2007 — Honorary Doctorate Degree from California Institute of the Arts

2006 — Inaugural United States Artists Fellow
2005 — Kennedy Center for the Arts, Masters of African American Choreography
2005 — Los Angeles Lehman Award for Choreography
2005Bessie Award for Choreographer/Creator
1995, 2000, 2001, 2004Isadora Duncan Dance Awards
2000 — Union Bank of California and KQED, Hero of the Year Award
1999, 2002 — San Francisco Magazine, Most Creative People in the City
1999 — KGO-TV Channel 7, Artistic Excellence Award
1997 — Philip Morris Companies Inc., New Work Fund Award
1997 — Rockefeller Foundation, commissioning grant
1997 — Choo-San Goh and H. Robert Magee Foundation, commissioning grant
1995 — National Dance Residency Program
1993, 1994 — Art Commissioner for City and County of San Francisco
1988 — National Endowment for the Arts, Choreography Fellowship


“The most sophisticated modernism in classical dance. The number of ballet choreographers who live – and create – solely in the present are so few that one of his distinction must be accounted the artistic equivalent of a shooting star.”

—Los Angeles Times


Alonzo King | © Franck Thibault
Zachary Tang and Keelan Whitmore | © RJ Muna
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