Student Blog: Alonzo King’s masterclass

September 24, 2015

Alonzo King speaks to BFA dancers

By Celine Kiner

Alonzo King walked into the studio and immediately turned off the fans, asked us to put the ballet barres away, and told the class to start on the floor. Yes, this morning we began our class with a series of abdominal exercises. Probably the most difficult series I’ve ever had to do. Alonzo King meant business, that was for sure. He was insistent that we engage from our core, “our nucleus,” he called it, to initiate all of our movement. Although my abdominal wall is already extremely sore, I’m definitely thankful that we started off with that idea in mind. We soon launched into learning a combination so expansive that I would have been flat on my face within seconds, had I not been actively focused on my center.

The amount of concentration in the room was clearly heightened, as each dancer strived to make their lines (pun intended) stronger, their movement more fluid. Alonzo stressed that we must make mistakes, our own mistakes; copying other dancers would not allow us that freedom. His profound wisdom seemed to seep through everything he said, and I don’t doubt that we could have listened to him speak for hours. After taking class with the director himself, the signature LINES style was much easier to comprehend. The quality of Alonzo’s movement, even as he marked the choreography to demonstrate for us, was unique, intriguing and innovative. Having just the slightest bit of insight into the way this movement was created was a remarkable experience–sometimes I have to pinch myself to remind myself that the USC Kaufman program is real, and that I’m a part of it.

Class ended with a brief dialogue with Alonzo. In less than an hour, he was able to communicate so much truth. The unwavering passion he feels for his art form is enough in itself to inspire anyone. His love for dance was evident in every single word, and I believe that the BFA class of 2019 shares that love. With a little push from Alonzo King, hopefully that love will guide us into the new movement.