"Combining technical precision, power and passion, Complexions Contemporary Ballet transcends tradition in a groundbreaking mix of styles ranging from ballet to hip hop. Founded by former members of Alvin Ailey, Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden, the company has been featured several times on the hit show So You Think You Can Dance and brings a show that is sure to dazzle and thrill. Complexions Contemporary Ballet makes it “sensationally, jawdroppingly clear that we live in the age of the super dancer, at a time when technical virtuosity is being redefined as an expressive state”-- Dance Magazine
It is artistic directors Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden’s lifelong appreciation for the artistic & aesthetic appeal of the multicultural that forms the cornerstone of Complexions Contemporary Ballet’s singular approach to reinventing dance. Founded by the two former Alvin Ailey members in 1994, Complexions’ groundbreaking mix of methods, styles, cultures has created an entirely new and exciting vision of human movement over the past decade-and-a-half.
The company’s foremost innovation is that dance should be about removing boundaries, not reinforcing them. Whether it be the limiting traditions of a single style, period, venue, or culture, Complexions transcends them all, creating an open, continually evolving form of dance that reflects the movement of our world—and all its constituent cultures—as an interrelated whole.
It is Rhoden and Richardson’s unique career paths that have paved the way for them to re-define dance—as their multifaceted resumes will show, neither has ever been comfortable with his art being placed in a box. Instead, from E! to PBS to VH1, from Cirque de Soleil to the Joffrey Ballet, the two have allowed the transformative power of their art to flow freely throughout the entertainment world—their creative vision restricted by nothing but the limits of the human body itself.
Together, Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson have created in Complexions an institution that embodies its historical moment, a sanctuary where those passionate about dance can celebrate its past while simultaneously building its future. In the 15 years since its inception, the company has born witness to a world that is becoming more fluid, more changeable, and more culturally interconnected than ever before— in other words, a world that is becoming more and more like Complexions itself.
DWIGHT RHODEN (Founding Artistic Director/Resident Choreographer of Complexions Contemporary Ballet) has established a remarkably wide-ranging career, earning dis tinction from The New York Times as “one of the most sought out choreographers of the day.” A native of Dayton, Ohio who began dancing at age 17, Rhoden has performed with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Les Ballet Jazz De Montreal and as a principal dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He has appeared in numerous television specials, documentaries and commercials throughout the United States, Canada and Europe and has been a featured performer on many PBS “Great Performances” specials.
Since 1994 Rhoden’s choreography has been the lynchpin in the development of the Com-plexions repertory. He has been praised for his prolific body of work, visionary style and boundary-breaking sensibility. Rhoden has created over 80 ballets for Complexions, as well as numerous other companies, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Arizona Ballet, The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Company, Ballet Gamonet, The Dance Theater of Harlem, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, The Joffrey Ballet, Miami City Ballet, New York City Ballet/Diamond Project, North Carolina Dance Theater, The Pennsylvania Ballet, Philadanco, Minneapolis Dance Theater, Phoenix Dance Company, Sacramento Ballet, Oakland Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, The Washington Ballet, and Zenon Dance Company. He has worked with, coached, and created for some of the most diverse artists spanning the world of ballet and contemporary dance. “Rhoden’s work is post-Balanchinean choreography, a new aesthetic in movement, stage, picture, and performance concepts reflecting a post-modern, techno-savvy worldview” (Dance Magazine)
Widely known as “a dancer’s choreographer,” Rhoden has worked with, coached and created for some of the most diverse artists spanning the worlds of ballet and contemporary dance. He has directed and choreo graphed for TV, film, theater and live perform ances including So You Think You Can Dance, E! Entertainment’s “Tribute to Style” and Cirque Du Soleil. He has also worked with such high-profile artists as Prince, Lenny Kravitz, Kelly Clarkson and Patrick Swayze.
Rhoden is the Resident Choreographer of North Carolina Dance Theatre and has lectured, taught, created works for and served as Artist in Residence at universities around the United States including New York University, Juilliard and The University of Mississippi, where his 2004 Racial Reconciliation Project was credited as a catalyst for dialogue in a community that has been historically divided. Rhoden is a 1998 New York Foundation for the Arts Award recipient and beneficiary of the 2001 Choo San Goh Award for Choreography. In May 2006 he received The Ailey School’s Apex Award in recognition of his extensive contributions to the field of dance.
DESMOND RICHARDSON (Founding Artistic Director/ Artist-in-Residence). Hailed by The New York Times as “one of the great modern dancers of his time,” Desmond Richardson is a multi-talented artist who has mastered a wide range of classical, modern and contemporary dance genres. Praised for his powerful dancing and singular performance quality, Richardson has been the hallmark performer who has shaped the essence of the Complexions style for over a decade.
When he danced the lead role in the American Ballet Theatre’s world premiere of Othello, The New York Times described him as “one of the most majestic dancers ever to tread the Metropolitan Opera House stage.” In 1998, Richardson joined the original cast of the Broadway musical Fosse, for which he received a 1999 Tony Award nomination.
Working in television, film and video in the United States and abroad, Richardson has performed with such musical artists as Michael Jackson, Prince, Aretha Franklin and Madonna. He made his on-screen singing debut in Charles Randolph Wright’s 2005 film Preaching to the Choir and is featured in Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niemi’s film One Last Dance as well as the Oscar-winning movie adaptation of Chicago. Richardson appeared in Julie Taymor’s film Across the Universe and also performed the lead role of Beowulf in her Grendel at the LA Opera and The New York State Theater.
Among his many honors are The Ailey School’s 2006 Apex Award and the prestigious 2007 Dance Magazine Award. He is also a recipient of a 1986 Presidential Scholar Award for the Arts and will be awarded the NFAA Alumni award later in 2009. Recently, he and Dwight Rhoden partnered with Diana Vishneva for her one-woman show, Beauty in Motion, at New York City Center, the Orange County Performing Arts Center and in Moscow, Russia. In May 2008, he was one of two dancers invited by the President of the United States to perform at the 60th Presidential Conference in Israel. This June, Richardson appeared on the Fox television hit, “So You Think You Can Dance,” for which he choreographed a duet with Dwight Rhoden.
For more information on this performance visit: www.complexionsdance.org
"Rhoden's work is post-Balanchinean choreography, a new aesthetic in movement, stage picture, and performance concepts reflecting a post-modern, techno-savvy worldview." — Dance Magazine
"Hailed as two of the greatest virtuosos ever to emerge from Ailey land - Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson" —The New York Times _________________________________________________________________________