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Sax and Dancing 

Wednesday, Oct 15 2008
Leaving behind the staid tropes and easy grace that have been fodder for traditional ballet companies for decades, choreographer Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet creates pieces that resound with a nearly spiritual tenor. King and ensemble delve into global themes, collaborating with fascinating people (monks, pygmies, and world-class musicians, to name a few) to produce works that are both intimate and expansive. This experimental penchant feeds into King’s latest partnership with saxophonist and jazz great Pharoah Sanders, whose polyrhythms and syncopated anarchy are the perfect fit for an ensemble that has danced to the beats of tabla luminary Zakir Hussain and the hypnotic warble of Nubian oud virtuoso Hamza El Din. So while you'll get the requisite balletic beauty, the dancers' movements are more in keeping with the ever-changing rhythms of bodies in motion rather than the rigid precision that might be expected of the form. Sanders' dissonant cadences are used to particularly sublime effect in a guest duet with Muriel Maffre, the former prima ballerina of the San Francisco Ballet.
Oct. 17-26, 8 p.m., 2008

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Nirmala Nataraj


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