Dance Review: Complexions Contemporary Ballet

There were moments of true inspiration in Gone, a trio set to unaccompanied song by Odetta.

Complexions Contemporary Ballet Herzliya Performing Arts Center March 21 On its first tour to Israel, Complexions Contemporary Ballet introduced its repertoire composed of numerous short pieces choreographed by Dwight Rhoden. Rhoden, the company's artistic director together with dancer Desmond Richardson, were leading dancers with Alvin Ailey's company in the '80s, and traces of Ailey are embedded in their artistic approach. In fact, the '80s were very much present throughout the evening. Rhoden's conservative perception of dance shied away from daring, cutting edge choreography and challenging musical sources. Dear Fredric, which opened the evening, is perhaps a more ambitious work, set to music by Chopin. The strong and highly physical troop was challenged in this piece, which required stamina and rapid, powerful movements. With this athletic sprint approach, though, too little attention was dedicated to Chopin's spirit. It didn't take long before the congested dance phrases became tedious. The company enjoys a great cadre of dancers with diversified training from ballet to jazz, and the choreography heaps these genres together, driving the dancers to demonstrate their utmost. However, it often seems that we end up with nothing more than high kicks, endless hyperextension and splits galore, leaving the viewer yearning for more soul. On the other hand, there was too much soul - in the banal, soggy sense of the word - in Lament, danced by Richardson. He is a truly great dancer that deserves better. There were moments of true inspiration in Gone, a trio set to unaccompanied song by Odetta, and in dances with Tbilisi born dancer Natiya Kozevadze.