This year’s Fall Home Season brings an exciting world premiere featuring a live performance with Israeli mezzo-soprano Maya Lahyani and a guest appearance by former LINES Ballet company member and current Ballet Master, Meredith Webster. Meyer also returns, set to music by acclaimed classical bassist Edgar Meyer with a striking backdrop of synchronized water by Academy Award-winning designer Jim Doyle.
With only 6 performances this season, be sure to reserve your seats quickly and join us in our hometown for this breathtaking show!
LINES Ballet Fall Home Season at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Nov 2-6
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Enjoy a clip of Meyer and learn more about Meredith’s past, present and future with LINES Ballet in the following video and interview:
In conversation with LINES Ballet Master and guest soloist for our Fall Home Season World Premiere, Meredith Webster
Can you tell us a quick summary of you? Where are you from? Where do you reside? How long have you been dancing? Where did you train or work before coming to LINES Ballet?
I’m originally from Wisconsin, although I’ve now been on the West Coast for longer than I lived in Wisconsin. But it’s still home in my heart. I live near the panhandle in San Francisco. I’ve been dancing since I was 3! My first teacher, Jean Wolfmeyer, taught me most of what I know. But I also trained at the Harid Conservatory, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and in various summer programs around the country. I danced professionally with (and learned so much from) Sonia Dawkins (Prism Dance Theatre) and Donald Byrd (Spectrum Dance Theater) in Seattle before coming to SF.
Can you tell us about your history and experience with Alonzo King LINES Ballet? When did you start? Which ballet did you enjoy performing the most?
I started with the company in 2005, as a guest when some other dancers were injured. Eventually, they decided to keep me and I danced with the company for 9 seasons before moving into the role of Co-Ballet Master with Arturo Fernandez 2 years ago. This will be my first time on stage with the company since I started Ballet Master-ing! In both of my roles with the company it has always been the collaborations with great musicians that have hit me hardest, but it is really hard to say which ballet I like better than the rest because there are always parts to a ballet that I love and parts in the same ballet that are less enjoyable!
I have also been incredibly lucky in the partners with whom I’ve gotten to dance, so pas de deux are often my favorite parts in a ballet. There is a particularly wondrous kind of communication that is shared when you are moving with someone else to music.
What is one lesson you’ve learned as a performer and/or artist during your time with LINES Ballet?
That complete devotion and commitment can coexist with playfulness.
What is your current role in the organization and what do your responsibilities entail? Why were you interested in transitioning to this new position?
I’ve been working as a Ballet Master (alongside the great Arturo Fernandez) for just over two seasons, which means I’m an assistant to Alonzo, an advocate for the integrity of the work, and an instigator of growth for the dancers. I make rehearsal schedules, help run technical rehearsals on tour, teach warm-up classes, take and give notes for the dancers, learn the choreography and keep track of the development of new work, play the music, interface with collaborators, and generally help keep the ship upright. I was interested in this job because I believe Alonzo’s work can be transformative for people in the audience and in the company, and at the time that the transition came up I was ready for a change; this felt right.
Can you tell us more about the upcoming new work you are creating with Alonzo and the company? What are you most excited about? Where did the seed of inspiration come from? Are you excited to perform with the company again and if so, why?
Well it’s always hard to talk about a piece while it’s still in the process of being created. But the seed originally came out of a project I am working on outside of LINES, with The Cambrians of Chicago, called Empress Archer. Empress will be a duet performance with myself and another dancer, Ariel Freedman, that will premiere in Chicago in February. As part of the creation process for that piece, Ariel and I worked in San Francisco this summer for a few weeks, and we asked Alonzo to be a part of our research. So we spent just a couple days in the studio with him, playing around and making some material that won’t even go into Empress, but that became the seed of the solo I’ll be doing in home season. Another fun fact about the “seed” is that Ariel was about 5 months pregnant while we were working with Alonzo, so that miracle was very present in the room!
For me it felt really nice to be moving in Alonzo’s work again, but with the new perspective that the two years in between have given me, and with a different body and mind than I had last time I did the work. On top of that, the music he was using was sublime. So now Alonzo is revisiting and developing the solo with the help of the whole company, and it is my great fortune that Maya Lahyani is available, to come and sing that incredible music live.
Maya worked with the company on Constellation and Wheel in the Middle of the Field, and the moments I’ve had onstage with her singing have been some of the richest of my career so far. I am ecstatic that I get to share the stage with her again!
What is one thing you look forward to doing most in this stage of your dance/artist career?
Continuing to grow.
Revel in Meredith’s unique beauty and virtuosity in this excerpt of her last performance with Maya Lahyani as a company member in 2012 in Alonzo King’s critically-acclaimed work Constellation. Don’t miss the rare opportunity to see Meredith and Maya back on stage with LINES Ballet this Fall.
Reserve your seat to see Meredith in our world premiere, Nov 2-6 at YBCA!
Photos by RJ Muna