Martial arts and Dance

There is a natural alignment between dance and the martial arts. This was recently presented in a dynamic way by Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet with the Shaolin Monks. Seeing the dancers and the monks on stage together afforded us the opportunity to compare and contrast their movement qualities. Both clearly embody self-awareness and precision of motion, yet the very way they walk across the stage is so different. When the dancer extends his arm there is a quality of movement tapering off his fingers and continuing out beyond his body. In this case, the ground is a platform for movement to grow upward and outward. The flow and line of movement is primary. When the Shaolin monk extends his arm the movement has a clear destination, a stopping point. The function of the movement is primary (in this case a punch). It was an impressive experience to witness such highly trained and dedicated movement artists on stage together. I hope to see more of this kind of collaboration among the movement arts.

The performance was brought to Portland by Whitebird. See the photo (by Marty Sohl) and description below….

Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet with the Shaolin Monks

Wednesday, September 24, 2008  7:30pm – Portland Oregon

Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

“Alonzo King – one of the few bona fide visionaries in the ballet world today.” -San Francisco Chronicle

From California / China

Long River, High Sky

Ballet meets martial arts in Alonzo King’s recent thrilling creation, Long River, High Sky. One of the United States’ most celebrated choreographers, Alonzo King creates contemporary ballets that are hailed for their ability to connect audiences to a profound sense of shared humanity. He has become renowned for his unique collaborations with composers, musicians, and visual artists. Now appearing for the third time on White Bird’s stage, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet will join with the Shaolin Monks of China to create an unprecedented synthesis of Eastern and Western forms of movement. As you experience this fascinating work, you will quickly recognize how King is not only blending two distinct cultural traditions but also demonstrating how interconnected the worlds of ballet and martial arts are.

Read the cover story from the Oregonian A&E by clicking here.

Running Time: 2 hours including intermission

There is a video clip on the site:

photo by Marty Sohl

-posted by spacetomove

One Response to “Martial arts and Dance”

  1. spacetomove Says:

    Precision, function, expression. What qualities do dance and martial arts share? Have you combined arts in your own practice?


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