Insight into Summer Program students’ work

There is nothing like the rush of working with a new choreographer in a new place as a young artist. This is an integral part of what summer program students experience everyday in the LINES studios. The choreographers that dancers have the opportunity to work with at the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Summer Program are world-class. Choreographers pull from rich dance backgrounds to offer a unique perspective, distinguished artistic voice, and high hopes for summer program attendees. Read more about our incredible choreographers below.

Gregory Dawson

About Gregory: Gregory P. Dawson, former LINES Ballet dancer, received his BA from St. Mary’s College. In 2007, he formed dawsondancesf (ddsf) as an outlet for his choreographic goals and vision. Shortly thereafter he created “which light in the sky is us” for Company C Contemporary Ballet (nominated for an Isadora Duncan Award for choreography) and became the Assistant Director of the California State Summer School of the Arts’ Dance Department in Southern California. In the Fall of 2011, Dawson become the Artistic Director of Dawson Wallace Dance Project in Denver, Colorado (formerly David Taylor Dance), where the Denver Post named him “the best choreographer in Denver.” Soon after, Dawson received a CHIME grant, partnering him with choreographic mentor Elizabeth Streb for one year. In September 2013, dawsondancesf re-established its presence in San Francisco with the world premiere of “fabricca matterasso d’argento” at Zaccho Dance Theatre. Following this, Dawson created “birds eye view” (a collaboration with Richard Howell Quintet) for the 2014 Black Choreographer’s Festival, which received an Isadora Duncan Award in 2015.  Dawson currently teaches and choreographs for all the LINES Ballet Education Programs.

Choreographic Theme: There is not a specific concept. I am creating a work that will allow the students to get out of their comfort zones and find something different within themselves. The complexity of the process forces them to find a different way of working, which in turn will aid them in discovering something different about themselves.

Takeaway from working with summer students: Every year, it never seems to fail, that some are totally lost in the process. But almost every year those are the folks that usually receive the most information about themselves and they seem to excel the most by the end of the process.

Hope Students Will Gain: …more knowledge about themselves as artists, and how that information will guide them in the future.

Laura O’Malley

About Laura: Laura O’Malley was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and trained at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. She has danced with Boston Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Post:Ballet, and Alonzo King LINES Ballet. In addition, she created works with many contemporary choreographers and performed leading roles in notable pieces from William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, Wayne McGregor, Jorma Elo, Marco Goecke, Douglas Lee, Hans Van Manen, Ohad Naharin, Mats Ek, Sharon Eyal, Azure Barton, Robert Dekkers, and Alejandro Cerrudo. Laura has been a guest teacher with Festival Ballet Providence, Ballet Arizona, Walnut Hill School for the Arts, and Southold Dance Theater.

Choreographic Theme: I’m making more of a collage, both with the music I’m using, and the mini-concepts within each song. Some will have more exact movement, and others will have room for interpretation or improvisation. The overall concept is still developing, as we’ve just begun.

Takeaway from working with summer students: So far it’s been a ton of fun! They’re a really bright and talented group of kids, and already are doing a wonderful job.

Hope students will gain: I hope they come away from the experience inspired, encouraged, and eager for more.

LeeWei Chao

Learn more about LeeWei: Born in Taipei, Taiwan. LeeWei Chao started his ballet training at age 15 with Ms. Xiao Lee, who brought from Russia the Vaganova ballet method to Taiwan. After dancing with Taipei City Ballet, Henry Yu Dance Company, He joined Singapore Dance Theater. In 1996 Mr. Chao joined Joffrey Ballet Concert Dancer in New York City, followed by dancing carrier with Joffrey Ballet Chicago and Milwaukee Ballet Company. Mr. Chao started his choreography work while he was dancing with Milwaukee Ballet Company. His works have been perform by Milwaukee Ballet Company, Ballet Nouveau Colorado, Oklahoma City Ballet, New Mexico School of The Arts and among the others. In 2014 Mr. Chao received National Choreography Recognition Award from Regional Dance America. Mr. Chao has been teaching at Stanford University, National University of Taipei, Taiwan, ODC, San Francisco State University. He currently teaches at LINES Dance Center and is a faulty member with LINES BFA and Training Programs.

Choreographic Theme: I have asked my dancers to create their own movement with four ideas: falling trees, rain, ashes and rebirth. I do not have an overarching concept just yet. After everything is put together, their efforts will tell a lot.

Takeaway from working with summer students: From my past experience, the rehearsal process turn into an opportunity for the dancers to trust, care and find meaning with one another. The movement is not about just technique anymore. It’s about the thought behind it.

Hope students will gain: Im hoping that by end of this piece, I would love to see them find real “trust”. Trust their mind and body! Trust that everything happens for a reason!

Anne-Rene Petrarca

Learn more about Anne-Rene: Anne-Rene Petrarca received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and her certification in the Alexander Technique from The American Center for the Alexander Technique in New York City. She is the Artistic Director of Sculpted Motion and currently on faculty teaching modern technique and/or Alexander at the LINES Ballet Training Program and BFA program, Mills College and San Francisco State University.

Choreographic Theme: The students have been so open, they dive in to whatever task I give them. The dancers have learned movement phrases, partnering sequences and floor work. Some of the tasks given have been to retrograde the phrases, infuse partnering and floor sequences, insert bridges and problem solve!

Takeaway from working with summer students:

  • encourage the dancers to discover that movement is a conversation, partnering work is like dialogue
  • follow the flow of energy
  • push them to move bigger and deeper
  • unify as a community so the piece can have life

Hope students will gain: I hope this experience at LINES gives the dancers a deeper understanding of what movement means to them and what it means to be a dancer. I hope they walk away with confidence in their dancing and in their creative power.

Arturo Fernandez

Learn more about Arturo: Arturo Fernandez is a native of Oakland, CA, and began dance training at the School of Performing Arts of USIU in San Diego. After only 2 years of intensive study he joined San Diego Ballet in 1976. Other companies he’s performed with are California Ballet, Arizona Ballet, New Jersey Ballet, Ballets Trocadero de Monte Carlo and Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. After moving back to California, he joined Oakland Ballet for a short time and ODC/San Francisco (11 years) and there served as the assistant to the choreographers from 1988 until Spring of 1991. Arturo has choreographed for the James Sewell Ballet, Inland Pacific Ballet, and Alonzo King LINES Ballet, among others. From 1992-2017, he was the Ballet Master for Alonzo King LINES Ballet, as well as assisting Alonzo King in the creation of new work. For more than 2 decades he has been an integral part of the Alonzo King LINES Dance Center, the LINES Training Program and the LINES BFA program.

Choreographic Theme: Here’s what I’m doing. I want to and always strive to make a piece that challenges the kids as well as give them all a chance to dance a lot. That being said, the challenge to myself is to make a piece that is clear and concise so that the audience sees that the dancers are dancing as hard as they can. It’s not so much about the choreography but about how much they are challenged in the program.

Takeaway from working with summer students: I love these kids and think that 99% of them are loving being here and love taking on the challenge. It’s great to see that they are up for it and are loving being here. I find it a joy to work with them as they give me as much joy as I hope I bring them.

See these brand-new works choreographed specifically for our Summer Program Session One students!

LBSP 2017 Session One, photo by Andy Mogg (1)LINES Ballet Summer Program: Session One Showcase

Friday, July 7, 2017
McKenna Theater at San Francisco State University

Or watch the performance live-streamed online here!

Photos courtesy of choreographers; event photo by Andy Mogg; cover & studio photos by Katie Wong