Choreographer and Founder
Alonzo King has been called a visionary choreographer, who is altering the way we look at ballet. King calls his works “thought structures” created by the manipulation of energies that exist in matter through laws, which govern the shapes and movement directions of everything that exists. Named as a choreographer with “astonishing originality” by the New York Times, Alonzo King LINES Ballet has been guided by his unique artistic vision since 1982.
King has works in the repertories of the Royal Swedish Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, Ballet Bejart, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Joffrey Ballet, Alvin Ailey, Hong Kong Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and many others. He has collaborated with distinguished visual artists, musicians, and composers across the globe, including legendary jazz saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders, Hamza al Din, Pawel Szymanski, Jason Moran, Charles Lloyd, Mezzo soprano Maya Lahyani, architect Chris Haas, and tabla master Zakir Hussain.
Renowned for his skill as a teacher, King was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Corps de Ballet International Teacher Conference in 2012. An internationally acclaimed guest ballet master, his training philosophy undergrids the educational programming at the Alonzo King LINES Dance Center of San Francisco, which includes the pre-professional Training Program, Summer Program, and the BFA Program at Dominican University of California.
King’s work has been recognized for its impact on the cultural fabric of the company’s home in San Francisco, as well as internationally by the dance world’s most prestigious institutions. Named a Master of Choreography by the Kennedy Center in 2005, King is the recipient of the NEA Choreographer’s Fellowship, the Jacob’s Pillow Creativity Award, the Irvine Fellowship in Dance, the US Artist Award in Dance, NY Bessie Award, and the National Dance Project’s Residency and Touring Awards. In 2014, King was appointed to the advisory council of the newly established Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University; in 2015 he received the Doris Duke Artist Award in celebration of his ongoing contributions to the advancement of contemporary dance. Joining historic icons in the field, King was named one of America’s “Irreplaceable Dance Treasures” by the Dance Heritage Coalition in 2015. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom presented the 2nd Annual Mayor’s Art Award to Alonzo King in October 2008. He also received Barney Choreographic Prize from White Bird Dance in April 2013, several Isadora Duncan awards, the San Francisco Foundations’s 2007 Community Leadership Award, the Hero Award from Union Bank, the Lehman Award, and the Excellence Award from KGO. In October 2012 the San Francisco Museum & Historical Society named Alonzo King a “San Francisco Treasure”.
He is a former commissioner for the city and county of San Francisco, and a writer and lecturer on the art of dance; his contributions appear in the books Masters of Movement: Portraits of American Choreographers and in Dance Masters: Interviews with Legends of Dance. In 2005 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate by Dominican University of California, the Green Honors Chair Professorship from Texas Christian University as well as an honorary Doctorate from CalArts.