Last week, Alonzo King LINES Ballet was honored to receive a recognition by the Isadora Duncan Awards for “Outstanding Achievement in Restaging/Revival/Reconstruction for our production of Rasa. But just as exciting, two of our LINES Education Program graduates also won their first award for Outstanding Achievement in Performance – Ensemble. The award acknowledged their performance of in this moment choreographed by past LINES Ballet company dancer, Gregory Dawson for his company dawsondancesf. We asked the two winners, Ilaria and Alex, to share more about what this win meant for them.
LINES BFA graduate, Class of 2013
I am so honored to have even been nominated for this award, let alone win it! This is only my second/third year as a professional dancer so this kind of recognition is exciting and unexpected to say the least.
The pas that we won for was Alexander Vargas and I’s first partnering experience together. He was new to the company at that point and the piece we were creating was a bit challenging; it was performed to live improvisational jazz music. We worked really hard on this pas; we had to learn each others styles of movement and had to quickly find that synergy between us that comes after years of dancing together. In the end, what came out was a really dynamic, energetic, fast paced pas de duex that was thrilling to perform. We really brought out the best in each other.
This award is also a testament to the success of our company, dawsondancesf, not just us as dancers. It means people are coming to see us and liking what they see! Its an amazing feeling to be part of the first generation of a company, being there through the hard times and the successes. Most of my teachers at the BFA were founding members of LINES and I now understand what they went through in the early years. I have to say that I am so proud to be a member of dawsondancesf and that I get the privilege to work with Gregory Dawson. I know there are many more exciting and great things to come.
LINES Ballet Training Program Alumni, Class of 2014
I was extremely excited for Ilaria and I to be at the Izzies. It was just a few months into my professional career when we performed the pas de deux for which we were nominated. It was a blessing in itself to be in a category with such amazing artists from the Bay Area. I jokingly told Ilaria when we sat down at the beginning of the ceremony that if we won she’d have to do the talking. I knew I would be too anxious and excited to form a proper sentence… and that’s exactly what happened!
Some of the biggest challenges in learning the pas were the speed and dynamics. It was our first time partnering, but we took to each other very naturally. We approached the choreography with open hearts and minds, taking each other’s suggestions as we worked. We learned to trust one another and to have fun with the music. Ultimately, I think that’s what made it so great!
The most impactful and important time in my training came from the Training Program at LINES Ballet. I spent two years there, where I learned invaluable lessons to help me both in and out of the Studio. I’m so thankful to be working with dawsondancesf. The company provides me with a safe space to put those lessons to the test and to continue to grow. I’m so grateful to be part of such a special dance landscape here in San Francisco!