Alonzo King LINES Ballet and Lisa Fischer performing The Propelled Heart
Alonzo King LINES Ballet has a rich history of collaboration. Based in San Francisco, the company draws world-class artists to the Bay Area to work with choreographer and artistic visionary, Alonzo King. A recent inductee into the California Hall of Fame, King is revered for his commitment to stirring hearts through dance and dialogue. In addition to crafting new ballets each year, he shares thought-provoking conversations with leaders like Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and political activist Angela Davis. This Spring Season, he joins with Grammy Award-winning singer Lisa Fischer and influential photographer Richard Misrach.
What connects these three artists is their drive to delve deeper.
Photography: (Left to right) Lisa Fischer | © Djeneba Aduayom; Alonzo King | © Jim Wilson; Richard Misrach | © Myriam Misrach 2022
"Even if it’s something incredibly beautiful,” says Misrach's wife Myriam, “Richard always finds some sort of significance to it beyond its beauty.”
In addition to seeking meaning, Misrach has a habit of returning to specific sites for his work, leaving him with an enormous archive of undeveloped images. So when the UCSF Nancy Friend Pritzker Psychiatry Building asked him to create art for its SF campus during the pandemic, his habit of revisiting came in handy.
With travel not permitted, Misrach roamed his warehouse, reuniting with thousands of photos. Dormant images were reimagined in Adobe® Photoshop® software. And after hours of experimentation, prints of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Oregon Coast were selected to display in their 5-story facility.
Misrach's next project was new ground: photographing the LINES Ballet dancers in Hawaii. His visuals will serve as the backdrop for King's choreography.
Misrach was introduced to King by Lisa Pritzker during LINES' last spring Gala featuring Deep River, a ballet with music by jazz pianist Jason Moran and Lisa Fischer. Deep River was Ms. Fischer’s second collaboration with King; her first was The Propelled Heart, a ballet DanceTabs hailed as “a wading into the waters of dance as a spiritual practice.”
Ms. Fischer’s passion for constant growth made her a dream collaborator for King. She set out to tell her story after performing years of featured background vocals for icons like The Rolling Stones and Tina Turner. Her Oscar-winning documentary Twenty Feet from Stardom turned attention to her gift, a responsibility she carries humbly and whole-heartedly.
"Voices like Lisa’s are more than just the beauty of sound,” says King. “It’s her intuition and her intelligence that you’re really working with. Her understanding goes deeper than direction alone. She brings something extra out in the work.”
LINES Ballet's premiere will explore humankind's complex relationship to nature: an interconnectedness that King has vocalized for decades. “We all start with me, and after development, it becomes we,” King shares. “But, that’s not enough. We inevitably go into oneness, where people, plant, animal, ocean, and sky are me. I won’t harm anything thinking of the money I can generate from its demise, because I am a part of it. That is what the world is aiming for.”