To help celebrate the 35th season of Alonzo King Lines Ballet, a longtime musical partner and friend returns: Zakir Hussain, the tabla virtuoso and composer. He’ll be joined by Sabir Khan on the bowed instrument called the sarangi to provide the score for a world premiere work at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts called Sutra.

There’s more information about the performances at the Alonzo King Lines Ballet website.

“Some meetings are predestined, you know, they are supposed to happen,” Hussain says. “My path was from an ancient Indian beginning, to come here, while Alonzo’s beginnings were with this part of the world and the way they are, towards the ancient…  So our paths had to cross.” They’ve collaborated many times over the years since they met more than 20 years ago. “And I think it’s been much more of a learning experience for me than it could possibly be for him. The oiler of the brain… you know, It’s just a great inspiration to work with him, and see the movement, and see the music you do, and see the waves of the music become bodies.” The long-form work allows the musicians and dancers both to have freedom to be spontaneous (within the delineated sections of the work that are kept to time with a pre-composed track) “Within that journey certain stops and starts might happen which may not happen yesterday, but happen day after tomorrow differently, and the day after that differently. So for that, it’s great to have those tracks there, but most of the playing, the meat of the playing, happens right there live, based on what the expressive element of the day is.” Hussain says it’s unusual to work with a choreographer and dancers so open to that freedom. “It’s difficult to get to that point. You have to have a like-minded person at the other side of the table. A person who is willing to inject that kind of confidence in his dancers. That you can, in fact, be yourself and have the day.”

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