Inside Training Program Student Choreography Showcase 2016


Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program’s biannual Student Choreography Showcase highlights innovative new works created and performed by the Training Program artists.

Join us this Thursday and Friday at 7pm at LINES Dance Center Studio 1 for a breathtaking evening of evocative art from 10 incredible emerging artists. No advance reservations are necessary – just $10 suggested donation at the door. We had a chance to catch up with a few of the Training Program choreographers to learn more about their creations – read on!

Featured LBTP student choreographer: Francesca Butler, 1st year Training Program student

Tact: (noun)
1. a keen sense of what to say or do; skill in dealing with difficult or delicate situations.
2. a keen sense of what is appropriate, tasteful, or aesthetically pleasing.
3. touch or the sense of touch.

My piece is inspired by tactile interaction and it’s authenticity through human connection. I have been eager to create a piece where teamwork is the crux that reveals pure and meticulous human connection. I have been brewing ideas for this piece ever since last spring when an experience drastically shifted the way I perceive human interaction.

This past May I suffered a concussion and sprained the cervical, thoracic and sacral regions of my spine in a wreck, where the car I was in, was hit and flipped going 70mph on the freeway. The experience was inexplicably awful but I was lucky enough to survive along with all of my friends inside the vehicle.

It was a wake up call to never take my body for granted but more than anything the trauma affected me emotionally and psychologically.

Since the accident I have been very curious to explore and revisit my experience through a choreographic process. Though the experience and my memories of it are intense and dramatic, I have no intension for my piece to be. The accident had me staring death in the face and I’ve never felt so vulnerable. I was able to come to peace with this vulnerability in the subsequent weeks of my recovery, through allowing myself to be hyper-dependent and supportive to those around me. I have since been fascinated with how to recreate that tactfully extraordinary need and care for one another without the trauma. Over the past months, and exponentially in the past weeks working with my dancers I have come to realize that

authenticating human connection, can be achieved though team building.

Miraculously all climbing out of that van bonded me to the other survivors in an energetic way that has since informed the way I approach human connection and interaction in my dancing. I’ve realized that the human connection of 14 hugging friends staring at an obliterated van they crawled out of, can be just as moving as the human connection of 4 living, breathing humans, dancing and supporting each other on stage together. What made this whole experience so life change was the connections I made through the vulnerable place that I was in. I do not believe that something so traumatizing must take place to create a meaningful connection, but my experience helped me realize what I value and therefore what I am eager to further explore. By creating this piece in a studio environment open to trial and error, laughing and crying, embarrassment and pride, my hope is that my quartet can create a bond that is reliant and invested in one another. Since that accident last April, I have been eager to explore in the studio how to emulate authentic human connection and dependency without the emotional drama.

Our creative process is exploring phrase work where the impetus for movement comes from tactile support and reliance.

We are exploring how we can make every moment of physical contact purposeful and soaked with intent.

The amount of time we as dancers spend on a stage is so small in comparison to our rehearsal hours, therefore my primary concern is to make the choreographic process saturated with valuable experience about connecting to one another inside the studio. Because of the collaborative nature of my process, my four dancers and I have developed a wonderful bond over the past few weeks, the creation of that bond was a fundamental necessity for my process. My hope is that the mutual trust and compassion will be the back bone for the piece. If conveying this strong bond to the audience proves not entirely effective, at the very least through the process my dancers gained incredible knowledge and value for one another as the vulnerable and wonderful human beings that they are. 

Featured LBTP student choreographer: Mazarine Rossert, 1st year Training Program student

What was the inspiration for your work?
I have always been very moved by Edith Piaf’s work. Her songs are an icon of France, where I come from, and I had been wanting to choreograph to one of her songs for a while. The title of the song I chose translates to “I regret nothing”, which is exactly how I feel about having moved across the country to attend this program.

I wanted to bring a piece of my home to San Francisco. 

What are you exploring through your process with your dancers?
The Training Program at LINES is such a unique and special environment for upcoming dancers to thrive without fear of what they are discovering and exploring. I wanted to tap into that and explore what I could create with the five beautiful dancers I was given the chance to work with.

Why did you want to choreograph this semester?
As I mentioned above, I had been wanting to choreograph to one of Edith Piaf’s songs for some time, and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. I wanted to challenge myself to get the ideas that so often float around as imagery in my head onto and into dancers’ bodies. Exploring the growth that comes from an experience like this was a key factor too, not only from my perspective as the choreographer but from the dancers’ perspective too.


Featured LBTP student choreographer: Elizabeth Pischel, 2nd year Training Program student 

A film excerpt of her upcoming piece:

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Featured LBTP student choreographer: Sorna Ndoye, 1st year Training Program student
My inspiration: all things that we can’t explain in life / the dependence that we have on things and on our past / the influence of the outside world / the power of imagination on our brains / the idea of old spirit / the distinction between body and soul as two different things /
Whether you think you are an old soul or not, realize that you have a beautiful lifetime journey ahead of you on this planet. Know that your soul has a plan and a purpose for being here. Embrace your time here and learn all that you can!
My process: being able to do nothing / being able to lose the control on our body and brain when we dance.
Why I wanted to choreograph this semester: I have no idea… I just feel that I have to share my vision of life.

Featured LBTP student choreographer: Katie Bostleman, 1st year Training Program student 

Through the choreographic process, we have been exploring the implications of “character” in movement. When we dance, we can throw on a costume and perform personality, but our embodiment of action is still entirely personal. Though we adopt movement and aura outside our everyday external presence, by committing to action, we create a new condition already existent within us. If we comprehend action fully, we can eschew the idea of “character” altogether and coexist with impulse.

Soloist Elizabeth Pischel

Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program
Student Choreography Showcase Fall 2016

Thursday, Dec 15
Friday, Dec 16
at 7pm

LINES Dance Center Studio 1
26 7th St. San Francisco, CA

$10 suggested donation at the door

See more at our Facebook event!

Cover photo and photos in first gallery by Jason Lam