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Review: Alonzo King's Lines Ballet bold, inventive

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Monday, Jan. 18, 2010

The dance offered by Alonzo King's Lines Ballet is incessantly exhilarating, filled with bold, broad gestures that are themselves full of intriguing nuance. At Friday night's performance of two of King's ballets at the August Wilson Center, Downtown, the word cool applied in several ways.

"Signs and Wonders" is a 26-minute piece set to traditional African music including the different appeals of children singing and drumming. Created in 1995 for Dance Theater of Harlem, its nine sections showcased the handsome company, which thrived on King's physically assertive style. But it wasn't until the penultimate section, the piece's second duet, that there was any warmth between the dancers.

"Refraction 2009" is set to a wonderful score by pianist Jason Moran, some of which had the cool sensitivity of some of Erik Satie's music, while his vibrant music had definite jazz elements and was inventive in its unfolding. King's choreography is inventive, including his styles of pointe work, and, in this piece, had more interaction.

If there was a sense of community to be conveyed by "Signs and Wonders" and "Refraction 2009," it is of a community of people doing their own things without much connection with each other. But there's no denying King's ballets are fun to watch.

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