Arts & Culture

Contemporary With A Diverse Twist

express Magazine
Written by express Magazine

To celebrate its 25th anniversary as one of the world’s most distinctive and successful dance companies; Complexions Contemporary Ballet brings Bach to Bowie to Auckland’s Civic.

Complexions was founded in 1994 by Master Choreographer Dwight Rhoden (who The New York Times labelled “one of the most sought out choreographers of the day”) and the legendary Artistic Director Desmond Richardson (the first black American to ever be a principal dancer for the acclaimed America Ballet Theater) with a singular approach to reinventing dance through a ground-breaking mix of methods, styles and cultures.

25 years on, Complexions represents one of the most recognized and respected performing arts brands in the world. Having presented their exciting vision of human movement on five continents, in over 20-countries, to over 20-million television viewers and well over 300,000 people in live audiences. The company has received numerous awards along the way including prestigious  The New York Times Critics’ Choice Award.

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Complexions foremost innovation has been removing boundaries around dance as an art form. Whether it be the limiting traditions of a single style, period, 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.

Since its inception, the company has born witness to a world that is becoming more fluid, changeable, and more culturally interconnected than ever before – a world that is becoming more and more like Complexions itself.

As the performing arts web-Bible Broadway World puts it: “At a time when – rightfully so – diversity, equality, and inclusion are hot and talked-about topics, particularly in the arts, Complexions Contemporary Ballet is honouring nearly three decades of doing just that, before it was more standard, supported and appreciated, but when it was downright revolutionary.”

“What is perhaps most exciting and trailblazing about Complexions then and now, is that this approach extends not only to better representation of diversity in terms of race, gender and sexuality, but elements such as size, height, and even personal flair.” – Broadwayworld.com

For their Anniversary show Bach to Bowie, Complexions are bringing sixteen dancers to Auckland’s Civic stage for a week of performances, each set in two acts.

The first act will be performed to the classical works of Bach. Showcasing the technical perfection and versatility of the company, with ‘Reverence, Celebration and Moxie’ selected as Rhoden’s themes for this physical representation of Bach’s soundscapes. Broadway World describes it as an “energetic, athletic performance in simple nude leotards by resident costume designer Christine Darch that when illuminated with the glow of candlelight by Michael Korsch, displayed every sinew of the company members’ gloriously sculpted forms.”

The second act is a dazzling homage to the iconic and chameleon spirit of David Bowie, fusing his greatest hits to form a rock-inspired ballet. The cast glam-up with glitter and even lip-sync to the likes of Life on Mars, Space Oddity, Heroes and Lazarus, with, “rawness and intensity akin to famous acclaimed drag artists.”

Complexions Contemporary Ballet’s Bach to Bowie will run from Thursday 9 – Sunday 12 May at The Civic. For tickets visit: www.ticketmaster.co.nz

About the author

express Magazine

express Magazine

express is New Zealand's leading LGBT+ publication. Our goal is to inform and support our community by delving into relevant people, stories and events.

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