Complexions Contemporary BalletBeauty may be only skin deep, but for the dancers of Complexions Contemporary Ballet it comes from deep within, shining out to the audience as a passion for dance and creative expression.

As the opening number Moon Over Jupiter featuring music by Sergie Rachmaninoff floods the stage, you are at once in awe of the athletic prowess of these dancers. The power in every defined muscle, every sinew, is evidence of the years of dedication to their craft and desire to be the best dancers they can be.

What is also unique about this dance company is that the dancers do not fit the usual “mould” and you soon notice the difference in height, body shape, skin colour and hair colour – which is exactly what this company is about. When artistic directors Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson founded Complexions in 1994 they set out to create the first-ever multicultural ballet and what better place to do that but New York, which boasts a melting pot of cultures?

Its not only the blending of nationalities that make this company unique, they aim to transcend boundaries in general, not limiting themselves to any set style of dance, but combining both classical ballet with contemporary dance.

Complexions' latest offering has something for everyone. Act 1’s Moon Over Jupiter is a beautiful and graceful number that will impress the traditionalists. Act 2 moved away from the romantic feel of Act 1 and had a more contemporary feel, the audience revived with a new colourful palette of performance to enjoy.

Rhoden and Richardson pride themselves on hiring dancers who’s individuality and spirit shines through in their dance. Though I didn’t get a sense of this in Act 1 it certainly started to show itself more as the evening progressed. As Act 2 began the energy from the dancers definitely lifted and it certainly seemed they preferred the more modern form of dance.

Where Act 1 seemed to be about romantic love, Act 2 was again about relationships, but this time exploring more confronting issues of conflict and loneliness.

In Act 2 I enjoyed the solo performance by Richardson, which I believe is called Moonlight. Frustratingly the $20 program (featuring photographs of dances that weren’t witnessed at the Perth show) is very confusing to follow with different performances listed for Sydney, Perth and Canberra. Things became even more convoluted when a quick announcement at the start of the show indicated that the routines in Act 2 would not follow what was listed in the program.

However Moonlight was strikingly different as it was the only solo and Richardson was captivating on the dark stage, using only a chair and bouquet of roses as props. His tortured expressions combined with the red roses seemed to tell the story of a broken heart and a man’s battle with loneliness.

The last Act was the perfect finale and definitely my favourite. Rise featured various songs by U2 including Where The Streets Have No Name, Vertigo and Desire. I enjoyed the choreography in this number, particularly one step I will call the pendulum where the male dancers swung the females over their shoulders. The routines were bright and colourful, building in excitement and taking the audience with them. If the first Act was a new romance, the second the trials and tribulations of relationships, well the final Act was the party to celebrate the anniversaries!

Complexions Contemporary Ballet


Venue: His Majesty’s Theatre
Dates: Tue 21 Sep-Sat 25 Sep, 2010
Bookings: 9484 1133 |

Parade Theatre
Dates: Tue 5 Oct – Sun 10 Oct, 2010
Bookings: 132 849 |

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