ALONZO KING LINES BALLET–SUTRA
One of my favorite things about my favorite theatre, The Wallis in Beverly Hills, is that they bring us more dance shows than anyplace else. I try to see as many of them as possible, but so far this season, I’ve been too busy elsewhere.
So I’m thrilled that I got to see the absolutely amazing Alonzo King Lines Ballet last week-end! The dozen dancers in this company are stunning! Each one looks exactly like a dancer, (which is far from the norm nowadays,) which was wonderful for me during the show—I didn’t have to spend even one moment wondering about their paths, as I often do when I watch other dancers who don’t look the part. (I know—that is just me. But I really appreciated that my mind wasn’t distracted from what I was seeing on the stage this time.)
This eighty-minute continuous program, with mystical music, (which, shockingly, did not bother me,) is entitled Sutra, and the intriguing modern ballet choreography was just gorgeous.
I had no idea what was going on there, at all, and even with my 147IQ, the program notes may as well have been written in sanskrit. But it did not matter at all. You don’t need to know the inspiration behind these movements to be wowed by them.
I seriously could not look away for even one second. My mind was boggled by the fact that just one choreographer, Alonzo King, could possibly think of so many different, interesting, unusual, creative, and clever movements that kept us constantly entertained for over an hour! Just when I think that I’ve seen every single dance step ever created, he really did blow my mind with this show.
There was one very fascinating “scene” that I’ve dubbed “The Ragman.” Schmatas* were flying everywhere, in a furious display, the likes of which I have never seen portrayed onstage before. Actually, it’s what Mr. X sees just about every night, when I’m hurriedly trying to find just the right outfit to go out in. *[Note: “Schmata” is Yiddish for “rag.” It’s not a slam, at all–I just don’t think what we saw on stage that night were actual articles of clothing. And here’s a sidebar about why I love using that word here, anyway—when I was a tiny child, I was seeing my ballet teacher in my first professional dance show at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and noticed the not-beautiful wardrobe on the dancers, (because dance is such an under-funded art!) I loudly asked my mother, “Why are they wearing schmatas???” She was so embarrassed, but it still made her laugh out loud. And she loved that story forever after, so I do, as well.]
But the costumes in Sutra are definitely not in the schmata category. I loved the many simple-yet-very-well-thought-out (and mostly ecru) outfit changes. Again, I didn’t understand them, but totally appreciated them.
Now a bit more on these dancers, who are all superior. You can see that they live to dance.
And they all dance just like I do…in my dreams! (I’m also envious that there was probably just two percent body fat on that entire stage!)
Everyone in this cast looked to have the same body type, with long sinewy limbs, which made all the beautiful movements even that much more stunning.
And, for perhaps the first time ever, I was not drawn to one dancer over the others. I admired this entirely equally-talented group. Even more unusual is that not one of them annoyed me! I honestly don’t think that’s ever happened with any type of production before!
I enjoyed just every second of Sutra, but I was especially taken with the last five to fifteen minutes; they reminded me of the end of a fireworks show. It just all kept exploding at a rapid pace, and then softly wound down, so the audience would know that it’s over.
I wish that everything I see on a professional stage would be that short and sweet and beautiful, with such talented humans, and hold my attention like that. But trust me—few dance shows can accomplish all that for me.
So, even though you missed it at the Wallis this time, I highly recommend that you see the Alonzo King Lines Ballet whenever possible, no matter what show they’re doing. And also, see dance at the Wallis always, no matter what company they’re presenting. I just hope that the Alonzo King Lines Ballet is there next year, too, because I can’t wait to see what else this man’s fertile imagination will share with us.