Between the LINES: #givingtuesday 2015

Go “Between the LINES” and discover what inspires our community – and why they inspire us.

LINES Ballet would not be possible without our dancers, students, teachers, staff, board, audience members, and donors. In the week leading up to #givingtuesday 2015, we gave thanks to the incredible individuals that make up our LINES Ballet community by sharing their stories with you:

Babatunji BtLBabatunji

Alonzo King LINES Ballet dancer, LINES Ballet Training Program alumnus and 2015 Princess Grace Award Winner

“I started dancing at age 15 after watching a documentary called RIZE about a style of dance called ‘Krumping’. From there I linked up with several of my friends and we started teaching ourselves how to ‘Pop’ and ‘Breakdance’ from videos off of YouTube. As we got better, we started performing, and were offered teaching jobs at a local studio. We went on to form a dance crew, and began performing on the streets as well as at parties and corporate entertainment gigs.

In 2009 Alonzo King LINES Ballet came to Hawaii and performed at UH Hilo, the college that I was attending. At that time, I thought that all I wanted to do was be on TV, be famous, and win So You Think You Can Dance, but after watching LINES Ballet’s performance of Rasa, I knew what I really wanted to do with my life.

The following year I left Hawaii and moved to San Francisco to joined the LINES Ballet Training Program on full scholarship where I spent about two years expanding my mind and body and ultimately discovering myself and what dancing means to me.

After completing the program, I moved to Denver to work with Dawson/Wallace Dance project for a year, but eventually determined that it was getting too hard to support myself in Denver, so I planned to move back to Hawaii for six months to live with my mom and save up money to go to NY during audition season. Meanwhile, I had gone back to SF several times to work in the studio with LINES and audition for the company, but was cut at the end. I took one last trip to SF on my way back to Hawaii, and while I was there I received an invitation to come back into the studio to work with the company, which led to a guest contract to perform with them in their collaboration with Hubbard Street in LA.

During the collaboration, I felt overwhelmed and out of place because I was dancing along side all of my idols and teachers at the time. So when we finished the last performance and went to the green room for a toast, the last thing I expected was Alonzo to come up to me and offer me a contract to join the company for their following season…

I have been with LINES Ballet ever since.”

(Photo by Quinn B. Wharton)

Alonzo BtLAlonzo King

Artistic Director of Alonzo King LINES Ballet

“It always seems funny when I say ‘dancers,’ because it is just human beings. It is human stuff.

I think that if I can get [people] to just experience, to taste it, they are transformed. The thing is, once you’ve tasted the experience of having been danced — and that can be in a disco or in a room with the lights out — once you’ve experienced that, something’s changed.”

(Photo by Frank Thibault)

Laura BtLLaura O’Malley

Alonzo King LINES Ballet dancer

“My career started at Boston Ballet in 2000, where I was the youngest member in the company, and my dream was to be Sylvie Guillem. In my first year, I performed the Nutcracker 55 times in a six week span! Unfortunately, that year, the director of Boston Ballet was let go, and those who had training in her style were also cut. I — along with half of the company — had to find a new job. I auditioned for Dutch National Ballet and began dancing there two months later.

After I moved to Holland, I was exposed to a world of dance I had never seen before. I fell in love with a contemporary dance company, Netherlands Dance Theater (NDT), and found their shows mesmerizing and otherworldly. I began to think differently about ballet. I gained new perspectives on the possibilities of dance, and brought this creative approach to works at Dutch National Ballet.

After three years in Holland, I accepted a job at Stuttgart Ballet in Germany, and was quickly promoted to Soloist. At the time, it was one of the top companies in the world, but as a result, had an incredibly competitive working atmosphere. Stuttgart pushed me to the limits physically and emotionally.

After my seventh year at Stuttgart, I felt the need to continue my growth. I still had fond memories of watching NDT and felt compelled to shift to contemporary ballet, which would allow me to focus entirely on the creative process. I started dancing for Hubbard Street Dance, and helped inspire choreography for “Glass Pieces” by Alejandro Cerrudo, set to Phillip Glass music, and a collaboration with LINES. I had no idea that a few years later I would be working with LINES full time!

At LINES, we have the freedom to be ourselves. We have an open and supportive atmosphere, which makes it feel a lot like a family.”

(Photo by Quinn B. Wharton)

Brandy  BtLBrandy White

LINES Ballet Summer Program Student and Homer Avila Scholarship Award Winner

“I dance because I love the rush I get from performing. If I’m in class or on stage, I get this warm sensation in my stomach that gives me so much energy. Every day is a performance day to me so I try to live it to the best of my abilities.”

(Photo by Andy Mogg)

Alex BtLAlex Diaz

LINES Ballet Training Program 1st Year Student

“My favorite moment [in the Training Program] would have to be coming together this past week for our first performance. Over the past three months I’ve created a strong bond with the artists around me. Sharing the stage with everyone, felt like a home away from home. We’ve created a family and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

(Photo by Quinn B. Wharton)

Rebecca BtLRebecca Lillich

BFA Class of 2016

“Dance is so important. It teaches love, connection, acceptance and strength. It also teaches us to fall in love with process and work rather than a sellable product.”

(Photo by Quinn B. Wharton)

Tim BtLTim Rubel

Heart with LINES Community Program Teaching Artist at De Marillac Academy and Dance Center Teacher

“I love being a Teaching Artist for the Dance Center because I get to help all different kinds of students find their full potential as movers. From recreational and professionally-oriented dancers in the adult program, to the middle school students in the community program, I am continuously inspired by the discoveries these students make and the challenges they are able to overcome.”

(Photo by Quinn B. Wharton)

Chris BtLChris Griffin

Production and Lighting Director for LINES Ballet

“Dance has a purity of form and intention that is difficult to achieve in other performing arts. There is a technical joke about ballet performance that I find resonates with me – to do a show, all you need are lights and tights. We don’t use tights, but that essential simplicity is vital as part of the artistic output at LINES. There is no hiding in that environment, the effect on the audience is primarily at a visceral and emotional level. Words and music, in contrast, are abstractions with a negotiated meaning coming from culture and society. The body is something that each person can interpret their own way. Motion in space is a rich medium for creation; the steps can be precise or aleatory, the emoting obvious or barely perceptible. The dynamic range of dance is so broad it defies definition. When a single motion of a single muscle – the heart, with the rest of the body in perfect stillness – can be dance, what can be compared to that?”

(Photo by Katie Wong)

Umayr BtLUmayr Hassan

LINES Dance Center student

“I used to pass by the Peninsula Ballet Theater studio every day on my way to work. One day, four years ago, I dropped in and took an intermediate ballet class. It was hard, tiring and confusing but I wanted to dance, so I kept coming back.

For a while, my coordination and memory didn’t seem to live up to my desire to dance. I remember the day when, in some way, I let go, and movement flowed. For me that was a turning point: it taught the value of relaxing and breathing, of unfolding while dancing, for dancing.”

(Photo by Stephen Texeira Photography)

ElizabethKaren BtLElizabeth and Karen

Fall Home Season patrons

“I’m in love with Alonzo King’s philosophy and the way he speaks to truthfulness, genuineness, integrity, heart and love and nature and just all of these really inspirational things that keep me out of my day to day chaos and bring me to this place of appreciation for the arts and for living. We were commenting on the feeling and depth of the intensity of emotion… I’m almost crying from it actually.”

(Photo by Katie Wong)

Antonio BtLAntonio Wright

2015 Summer Program student

“Dance has given me this feeling of weightlessness. Weightlessness for me relates deeply to freedom, and when I am moving I feel free. While performing, I have seen places that I have never been able to reach without doing so. It brings such great excitement because it’s a personal journey that only I am able to go on, and its up to me whether or not I allow people into that space.”

(Photo by Andy Mogg)

Marina BtLMarina Hotchkiss

Former LINES Ballet dancer and current BFA Program Director

“My favorite memories are of wonderful moments in rehearsal with Alonzo in the early days, where we were exploring movement phrases for weeks. And having the amazing privilege of performing the ‘Ma’ pas from “Who Dressed You Like a Foreigner?”, with partners Yannis Adoniou and later Christian Burns. Those performances have stayed with me in a very real way. Zakir [Hussain] played live for many of them, which was like being infused with magic. I will never forget holding his hand for bows and feeling lightning bolts coming out of his body into mine!”

(Photo by Katie Wong)

MonetChristopher BtLMonet and Christopher

Fall Home Season patrons

“This is my second show. I just like the LINES company, we are dancers and they are very inspiring to watch. Their fluidity and their movement quality. It’s a very unique kind of stage presence from the normal contemporary company.

I don’t know… there’s just an extra oomph to it.”

(Photo by Katie Wong)

Alberto BtLAlberto Vajrabukka

LINES Dance Center student

“How has dance changed you?

I’m more focused and present. Definitely came out of my shell. More confident. And I’m in the best shape of my 40-something life.”

(Photo by Stephen Texeira Photography)

Calleja BtLCalleja Smiley

BFA Class of 2016

“Dancing for me is a life journey not separable from my growing as a person. Greater than any one cornerstone moment in this journey, I have gradually become more myself, moved past fear, and discovered more of life and imagination.”

(Photo by Quinn B. Wharton)

Help us make a difference.

Please make your 100% tax deductible donation to Alonzo King LINES Ballet today. Your contribution directly supports Alonzo King in his creation of new work, while also providing access for students to experience the LINES philosophy through education and outreach programs.

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