Alli and I were fortunate enough to see the premiere performance of Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson’s new Complexions Contemporary ballet while in New York. Alli had identified it as something that she really wanted to see and since it was opening while we were in the big city, we took the opportunity.
Amazingly, I found tickets for opening night at the Joyce Theater in Chelsea, a small modern dance theater. Even more amazing than that was that they were affordable.
The audience was treated to two brand new ballets from Rhoden and Richardson, Dirty Wire and Mercy (2 movements). The first ballet was set to an interesting ambient noise-like music and is described as:
In this complex world of communication, Dirty Wire looks at the advantages and disadvantages of being able to connect instantly; how those instant connections affect our relationships, what they do to intimacy and how negotiating distance becomes a new element in our bonds.
The entire first act consists of Dirty Wire…45 minutes of beautiful and innovative dance performed by phenomenal artists. It’s a powerful piece, but I felt myself more drawn to the second act, Mercy:
…an epic work with abstractions depicting passion and kindly forbearance with a yearn for grace and permanence in the sacred and spiritual deliverance of mankind. It poses the question: to what degree does humanity have to go in order for there to be some kind of relief? Mercy looks at the desire to advance without violence but shows the inevitable challenges in doing so. Although abstract in its format, Mercy hopes to provide a context for real images of pleading, forgiveness, indignation, grace and pity.
The description provided in the playbill is so apropos to this ballet and is somewhat unnecessary. Much of this is very obviously communicated in the dance, particularly when co-Artistic Director Desmond Richardson emerges and dances with the company. It’s powerful stuff.
After the limited engagement at the Joyce Theater in New York, the company will head out on tour in January, focusing on Southern states initially, then heading overseas to Australia (February 2010), Spain/France (March 2010), Germany (May/June 2010) and Israel (July 2010). There are periodic U.S. dates sprinkled in and performances in Pittsburgh, Portland and New Bedford, MA (April 2010).
If you are a fan of dance, particularly of ballet — and even more specifically, Alvin Ailey-esque ballet and Complexions comes to your town, I implore you to go see it. There are a couple different programs. We saw the one with the new ballets, but the others look just as compelling (particularly Rise, which includes the music of U2).
Unfortunately, the ballet is not coming to Kansas City, but if it’s coming near your city, go see it.
This post could not be possible without the help of the Complexions Ballet, who provided me with the high-quality pictures and information about the tour.