Thirty years ago today, LINES, A Dance Company (as it was known back then), took the stage at San Francisco State University’s McKenna Theater to perform Alonzo King’s inaugural ballet, Maya. The performance was the culmination of months of hard work by a group of young friends who had found each other in San Francisco’s dance scene. Wanting to take their artistry to the public, the friends rented rehearsal space at Dance Mission Theater where King taught and the founding Company members took class. While King and the dancers worked hard in the studio, co-founders Robert Rosenwasser and Pam Hagen took time out from their day jobs to find a venue and advertise the performance.
A poster from that first season hangs in our 5th floor conference room to this day. During one of our many meetings one glances up at it and is reminded of the dedication and love that built this organization at a time when no one got paid or had any inkling that their passion project would someday turn into an internationally acclaimed dance company with a thriving educational arm.
Yet, through those fledgling years the founding members persevered and three decades later they have only to walk through the halls of LINES to see the manifestation of their commitment. Without them, there would be no rush of students to community classes at the Dance Center, no Training Program for pre-professional dancers, or joint BFA Program for students taking that route. And for the hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world who have attended a Company performance, there would simply be no Alonzo King LINES Ballet.
The performance on September 17, 1982 proved an industrious beginning. It marked Alonzo’s first and last performance with his company, but also placed him on a path towards becoming one of the preeminent choreographers of his generation, and LINES Ballet as a signature voice in dance.