NEW YORK, NY – Complexions, a contemporary ballet company founded in 1994 by Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, has returned to New York for its 29th season.
At the Joyce Theater on Tuesday night, the company’s inaugural gala night repertoire included a world premiere by Complexions principal choreographer Dwight Rhoden (to the tune of U2) and world premieres by guest choreographers Abdul Latif and Jenn Freeman, as well as company premieres by guests Ricardo Amarante and Justin Peck.
To kick off gala night, the audience was treated to a stunning performance of “Dream On” by Aaron Dworkin. On stage, in dim lighting, a single ballerina contorted her body to the rhythmic music, moving so effortlessly that her movement was almost comparable to water. Her fluid dancing captivated the audience, eliciting gasps and murmurs of admiration as she pushed the boundaries of physical human form. The dim lighting also emphasized the contours of her body as she remained in place on stage, rocking her shoulders forward and moving every individual vertebrae.
The full list of performances included:
- Dream On Poem: Aaron Dworkin (approx. 3 minutes)
- Ballad Unto Excerpt – Dwight Rhoden (8.5 Minutes)
- The Dreamers – Justin Peck (8 minutes)
- Love, Fear, Loss Excerpt – Ricardo Amarante, w/pianist Brian Wong (with a pas de deux)
- Black is Beautiful- Dwight Rhoden (Howard students, 6 minutes)
- SCOREOGRAPH(ED) Excerpt- Abdul Latif (5 minutes)
- Untitled Excerpt- Jenn Freeman w/ drummer Price McGuffey (5 minutes)
- U2 Untitled Excerpt – Dwight Rhoden (20 minutes)
In between performances, Oscar-winning actress Angela Bassett, as well as founding choreographers Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson came on to the stage to express their passion and admiration for the company. Another unique highlight of the gala performance was the collaboration with Howard University – several dancers from the historically black college performed “Black is Beautiful”, a dance by founder Dwight Rhoden himself.
The repertoire transitioned from styles slightly reminiscent of classical ballet to fully contemporary, with the night ending with an exciting rendition of “U2 Untitled” by Dwight Rhoden. Dancers leapt across the stage and perpetuated a bustling energy quickly absorbed by the crowd.
Complexions’ 29th season runs until November 26, 2023. All performances are held at The Joyce Theater in Chelsea. Tickets range from $10 to $75 and can be purchased online at https://www.joyce.org/performances/complexions-contemporary-ballet or by phone at 212-242-0800.