(photo credit: Courtesy)
In the 2009 remake of the classic cult film Fame, Alice, played by Kherrington
Payne, decides to forgo graduating high school in order to join what she
considers “the best modern dance company in the world.” In an impassioned
monologue, she explains to her soon-to-be ex-boyfriend that joining the troupe
is a once-in-alifetime opportunity she can’t possibly turn down. The company
that lured her away from her teenage sweetheart and the joys of donning a cap
and gown was Dwight Rhoden’s Complexions Contemporary Ballet. This month,
Complexions will pay their second visit in two years time to the Tel Aviv
Performing Arts Center for three performances.
This year Complexions is
celebrating its 15th anniversary.
For the amount of attention it receives
in the media papers and in the dance community, this seems like an awfully short
amount of time. However, the creative energies generated by choreographer Dwight
Rhoden and former life partner and star dancer Desmond Richardson have stirred
up a whirlwind of pirouettes, pointed toes and flattering
Richardson has been a major player in the international dance
community for the past three decades. He is the picture of physical perfection,
a technically superior dancer and engaging performer. Prior to Complexions, he
enjoyed stints in the world’s most renowned ensembles, including the American
Ballet Theater and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In addition, he has
performed extensively on Broadway, most notably in Fosse, and was one of the
lead dancers in Rob Marshall’s film version of Chicago.
Complexions was equally dynamic for Rhoden. Originally from Ohio, Rhoden was a
member of Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal (which will also visit Israel later this
year) and of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
He was considered to be
a strong, intense dancer with excellent facility and powerful stage
It was during this period, while both were performing in
professional companies, that Rhoden and Richardson met.
became recognized as a solid unit and a major force in the international dance
community…a dream team.
When the two first met, Rhoden had not yet
officially discovered himself a choreographer. Though his dance experience honed
his understanding of composition, he had yet to create his own work. He began by
trying out ideas on Richardson, who was an ideal canvas for Rhoden’s creative
What grew between them in the coming years were a deep love and a
truly unique artistic collaboration.
They were a couple, partners in the
studio and on stage, and the artistic directors of a new, exciting company.
Then, five years ago, Rhoden and Richardson separated.
personal relationship changed dramatically, Complexions remained relatively
For its 2011 visit to Israel, Complexions will perform a mixed
bill of works by Rhoden. In total, excerpts from five pieces, all choreographed
in the past five years, will be shown. Though the company has been criticized
for making mainstream dance, Rhoden’s use of popular music often allows audience
members to connect more easily with his work.
The musical score for this
program ranges from neo-classical to modern, including Rachmaninoff, the Rolling
Stones and U2.
Many of the dancers in Complexions hail from major ballet
troupes. Thus any Complexions show is worth taking in, if not for the artistry,
then for the superb capabilities of the cast. These are truly elite performers,
anyone will tell you. No wonder Alice from Fame was willing to drop everything
to join up with them.Complexions will perform at TAPAC on April 25- 27. For tickets, call (03)
692-7777 or visit www.israelopera.co.il.