LINES Ballet company artist Adji Cissoko enclosed and intertwined into a flowing golden piece of fabric, stretching and pulling within the fabric

Spring Season Lookbook with Thoughts from the Dancers We Love

Dive into the dancers’ thoughts just one week before they take the stage at YBCA for our world premiere collaboration with Lisa Fischer and Jason Moran, May 13 – 22, 2022. Find out what they are most looking forward to, the laugh out loud rehearsal moment, and what it feels like to move to Lisa’s voice as you explore this season’s lookbook of artwork by RJ Muna. Tickets for our 40th Anniversary | Spring Season are available at

Maya Harr

Photography: Alonzo King LINES Ballet | Dancer: Maya Harr | © RJ Muna

Knowing that LINES Ballet has been alive for forty years, I initially feel the huge responsibility that comes with such an important legacy. I also feel an immense sense of pride. Especially because LINES has been, and always will be, such a family, once you enter the family tree, your place in its history is planted. From there you become a branch of this beautiful tree, and you keep growing while a freshly sprouted branch begins its own journey. Forty years later, LINES is this powerful, expansive, living organism that each generation of dancers has tended to and nurtured. I think that’s what fuels the responsibility of legacy. When joining, you step in to fill the shoes of an artist who has supported the family tree by going through their own huge growth process. Older artists in the company are tasked with supporting the new artists, much like an older branch on a lower rim of a tree supports the weight from above, while the new artists step into the work prepared to help it continue to grow.  

Whenever we work with incredible musicians like Lisa or Jason, it almost feels like, during the entirety of the creation process, something is missing. I don’t know if it’s because there’s the knowledge that live music is coming, or just the eagerness to have such inspiring people create art alongside us, but it seems like we’re waiting for “something” until those voices enter the room. It’s valuable to be excited or inspired by the tracks that we’re sent while in the creation process, but as soon as they join us on stage, or as soon as we hear whatever gorgeous recording in the amplifying space of a theater, it’s like the right key is found and the gears begin to turn by themselves. Dancing alongside Lisa’s voice and Jason’s music not only solidifies a complete understanding of the impetus of the piece, but they become a guiding force for its spirit.

Babatunji Johnson

Photography: Alonzo King LINES Ballet | Dancer: Babatunji Johnson | © RJ Muna

I am most looking forward to returning home to the YBCA stage. That theater has a special place in my heart and has been the birthplace of many fond memories. I am also really looking forward to sharing the gift of dance in-person with the community here in SF! I want them to receive LOVE, LIGHT, and to be UPLIFTED.

I can feel how the history of everyone who has come before me enables me to exist and work the way that I am working now in the company. It is also very gratifying to know that I am a part of this company’s history and to know that all that I am doing with the company can help inspire and inform the generation that comes after me.

Madeline DeVries

Photography: Alonzo King LINES Ballet | Dancer: Madeline DeVries | © RJ Muna

This spring season, I am most looking forward to dancing to the magic of Lisa Fischer. Her soul and power communicated through her voice crashes into me. I am struck by a wave of love and generosity that I am drawn to match with my own soul and power through movement. I can’t wait to dance through that feeling and pour it out on our audience. 

The history that LINES Ballet carries through the years is palpable. There is a depth that I have felt since the moment I first stepped into the Odd Fellows building. That depth is legacy. The years of hard work by the dancers alongside Alonzo and everyone who has supported and lifted it up. It is the unearthing of humanity together and in ourselves in the studio that is then brought into full light on stage for the audience. Year after year, that has been the driving force and that feeling was undeniable when I stepped into that legacy, and I hope to carry it on. I suppose the feeling is weighted, full, and sacred. 

Adji Cissoko

Photography: Alonzo King LINES Ballet | Dancer: Adji Cissoko | © RJ Muna

I feel incredibly lucky and honored to dance with LINES Ballet. It’s inspiring me to explore and grow more every single day! We lose it laughing in rehearsal quite often too. The most recent time was when Alonzo asked us to do a “roll a dice “ motion that I interpreted as a somersault thinking he meant to pretend we’re the dice instead of just a simple hand motion which is what all the other dancers did… 

It feels magical to move to Lisa’s voice!!! She is one of my favorite human beings… so humble, kind, and generous, and her voice always seems to carry me and lift me up.

Michael Montgomery

Photography: Alonzo King LINES Ballet | Dancer: Michael Montgomery (R) and Madeline DeVries (L) | © RJ Muna

It is an honor to have been dancing for this company for 12 of its 40 year legacy. I feel very lucky and grateful. I am so happy to see that through all obstacles, this company has survived, thrived, and continues to reach and inspire the world.

It’ll be nice to be back “home,” performing for our home season. I always love dancing to Jason’s music, and I am so moved by Lisa in all ways. Dancing to her voice is a gift. She transports all who hear her to so many places, places of peace, love, humanity, wonder, honesty, and so much more

Alvaro Montelongo

Photography: Alonzo King LINES Ballet | Dancer: Alvaro Montelongo (R) and Shuaib Elhassan (L) | © RJ Muna

Alonzo has repeatedly told us that this work has a sacred tone to it. I have enjoyed the journey of connecting the dots to what sacred means. Tapping into this feeling is not too hard because Lisa and Jason’s music creates an environment that already has that feeling. Coming into a space that is sacred completely changes the movement qualities and the way I interact with the piece. This approach leads me to touching fibers that have a high frequency. I can only interact with care when interacting with this frequency. It is beautiful to find this care when performing this new work. 

Sometimes I think of LINES only through my three years of experience, and I forget how much more there is to this company. Thinking about all the dancers, all the administrative staff, all the donors, all the minds that focused on LINES to help it carry on, that is magnificent. I am blessed to be a grain of sand in this beach that invites beauty and insight. Experiencing my peers’ work on a day to day basis, and some of the former dancers’ work through their classes and short visits, there is no doubt that I am in a space where great minds can deepen their research of what it means to be a being in this universe. I feel very humbled to be a part of it and very lucky to continue my own research within this hugely supportive organization. Congratulations LINES Ballet! Happy birthday!

Spring Season 2022

See the dancers perform live May 13-22 at YBCA, featuring a visionary new work by Alonzo King, who San Francisco Magazine calls “a creative force of nature.” The world premiere featuring Grammy Award-winning vocalist Lisa Fischer performing live alongside the dancers. The work is set to a score by jazz pianist, composer, and MacArthur Fellow Jason Moran.


Banner Photography: Alonzo King LINES Ballet | Dancer: Adji Cissoko | © RJ Muna
Lower Photography: Alonzo King LINES Ballet | Dancers: Babatunji Johnson and Joshua Francique | © RJ Muna