Soulfully Cerebral

Soul and extreme technicality are rare companions in the art world, perhaps because the brain and the gut speak fundamentally different languages. There exist some rare artists, however, who are fluent in both. By most counts, jazz pianist Jason Moran and choreographer Alonzo King are among them. Voted Rising Star Composer three times in a row by the hallowed DownBeat Magazine, Moran draws inspiration from moody master Thelonious Monk, even if his style is an entity all its own. King’s LINES Ballet is known around the globe for dancing as visceral as it is virtuosic. Moran reports having had a “breakthrough experience” watching a LINES performance, after which he approached King about collaborating. An eager partner with visionaries outside the classical ballet field, King went for the idea, and Moran set about creating his first-ever ballet score. The resulting premiere shares the bill at Alonzo King LINES Ballet Fall Home Season with a return of 2005’s Moroccan Project, created in conjunction with three celebrated Moroccan composers. That score blends the blood-charging drum rhythms of traditional Gnawa ceremonies with floating strains of oud and violin, and is performed live at all performances by Moroccan ensemble El Hamideen. Moran, on the other hand, accompanies the dancers on opening weekend only, making the rare chance to catch this pairing of world-class artists even rarer.
Wednesdays-Sundays. Starts: Oct. 23. Continues through Nov. 1, 2009

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