Babatunji in Biophony.
Photo by Quinn B. Wharton.
Rasa, a deeply evocative and shimmering piece, set to an original score by tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, which was called “an intriguing wonder” by the New York Times. Zakir Hussain’s mastery of classical Indian percussion and unique vision of world music have brought him worldwide renown, including a Grammy nomination, and his collaborations with Alonzo King renew classical forms in an entirely innovative way. Tabla music began as dancing music, in Northern Indian courts in the early 1700s, and its hypnotic intensity and complex rhythms convey the strong feeling that they are meant to move the body. Rasa is thus both a continuation of a deep tradition--the interdependence of dance and tabla music as art forms--and an expression of the contemporary global vision of both artists.
Choreographed to Bach’s concerto in D Minor (utilized famously by George Balanchine in 1941), Concerto for Two Violins is a sleek and sharp salute to ballet’s past while marking the continued evolution of neoclassicism. Balanchine’s training in music theory provided one visual conception of the score. As King investigates the densely layered contrapuntal voices for himself, we hear beloved melodies anew. San Francisco Chronicle dance critic Alan Ulrich wrote that the piece delivered what LINES Ballet audiences have come to expect: “dancing of immense pliancy and emotional resonance by a team of amazingly resilient performers who relish the challenges that King’s choreography throws their way.”