Submerge yourself in this deeply soulful, powerful new work that fuses Black and Jewish spiritual music with stunning dance. Set to a score by jazz pianist, composer, and MacArthur Fellow Jason Moran—with vocals by Grammy Award-winning vocalist Lisa Fischer—the piece celebrates the 40th anniversary of this artistically innovative ballet company. Master choreographer and visionary Alonzo King reveals Deep River is a reminder “that love is the ocean that we rose from, swim in, and will one day return to”—that love can set us free.


Know Before You Go

Event Information

  • Performance Begins: 7:30 pm
  • Accessibility: This event will be captioned, with other accessibility services available upon request.
  • Detailed Event Information: Find Your Event Info link on your order confirmation or check your email within 48 hours for detailed information.

If you need assistance with your tickets, please call 612-624-2345, email

sensory friendly icon - lotus flowerSensory Friendly Lounge

A Sensory Friendly Lounge equipped with sensory supports and staffed by trained volunteers will be available to all guests who are seeking a safe and soothing atmosphere during this and other select performances. Learn more on the Accessibility Services page.

Learn More - Explore These Themes

The content below derives from the Northrop Across Campus Program that supports Northrop's mission towards intersections between performing arts and education for the benefit of all participants now and for generations to come.

Find ways to make thematic connections to these suggested topics:

  • Dance: Ballet, Modern, Contemporary
  • African American & African Studies
  • Jewish Studies
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Music: Jazz, Gospel

Start a conversation about the performance, or encourage reflection, using these questions as inspiration.

Over the course of the pandemic, Alonzo King and the artists of LINES worked in confined bubbles at their studios, outside in grassy areas of Golden Gate Park, and on a farm in the isolated desert of Wickenburg, Arizona. In November, Northrop will present the result: Deep River, a piece described as “a love letter to a world in pain.” 

  • What does this company’s resilience suggest about art’s ability to transcend difficult times? 
  • How do you imagine this juxtaposition between love and pain might present itself in the work?
  • Were you engaged in any creative practice during the pandemic? How did engaging in a practice impact you?

Alonzo King, a visionary choreographer, has altered the way we look at ballet by drawing upon a diverse set of deeply-rooted cultural traditions. Deep River will feature the compositions of Jason Moran, the remarkable voice of Lisa Fischer, and spiritual music from Black and Jewish traditions to illustrate the power of hope, determination, and inspiration against seemingly impossible odds.

  • What kinds of music do you typically associate with ballet? How might incorporating new genres add dimension to the art form?
  • Why do you think Alonzo King chose to draw from these musical influences? How does this choice reflect his innovative perspective on ballet?
  • What do you think the use of Black and Jewish spiritual music contributes to the ballet’s message?

Alonzo King LINES Ballet is a celebrated contemporary dance company that has been guided since 1982 by the unique artistic vision of its founder. King credits his parents, both prominent figures in the Civil Rights Movement, with shaping his worldview: “My parents were willing to die for what they believed in. Their commitment to truth was my tuning fork. What you speak you must live, or else do not speak it. That became my template for how to both behave and create in the world.”

  • How do you think King’s worldview informs his collaborative approach to ballet?
  • How might King’s lineage be reflected in his art?
  • Do you have lineages/legacies that are important to you? How have they shaped your perspectives?

In an interview with The Guardian, King establishes a connection between ballet and the laws of the natural world. He explains, “Nature is everything… That’s the first pirouette: in whirlpools and eddies and the Earth on its axis going around the sun. The rising and falling, the mechanics and physics, it’s all in ballet.” In the company’s lockdown dance film series, There Is No Standing Still, the dancers perform primarily outdoors. King encouraged the company to allow their movements to be inspired by natural environments.

  • Do you see a connection between dance and nature? What might that connection suggest about the purpose of dance?
  • How might the inspiration provided by nature be sustained on stage? Do you think it remains visible to the audience?


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This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.