Removing boundaries through innovative dance

Expression and musicality, physicality and strength, precision and clarity, versatility and artistry… you’ll experience it all when Complexions Contemporary Ballet returns to Madison to present “STAR DUST: From Bach to David Bowie” at Overture Center on Friday, Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Overture Hall.

A troupe of nearly 20 members led by dance icons Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, Complexions Contemporary Ballet has awakened audiences to a new, exciting genre with their singular approach of reinventing dance and contemporary ballet. With stunning gifted dancers and powerful choreography, Complexions has been hailed as a “matchless American dance company” by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Its high-octane movement astonishes audiences by pairing its fierce evocative style with musical ranges—from David Bowie to Johann Bach. 

Complexions, based in New York City, was founded in 1994 by Rhoden and Richardson with a singular approach to reinventing dance through a groundbreaking mix of methods, styles and cultures. Today, Complexions represents one of the most recognized, diverse, inclusive and respected performing arts brands in the world. Having presented an entirely new and exciting vision of human movement on five continents in more than 20 countries to over 20 million television viewers and to well over 300,000 people in live audiences, Complexions is poised to continue its mission to bring unity to the world one dance at a time. 

Widely considered “America’s Original Multicultural Contemporary Ballet Company,” Complexions is celebrated for its pioneering spirit for building a universal brand that continues to challenge traditional ideas and redefine possibilities in the dance arena. 

“Our ballet celebrates the beauty of differences through courageous, innovative and cutting-edge programming,” said Richardson.  “Over the years, we have consistently delivered a profound passion for diversity that has framed our vision and become our hallmark.”

Richardson was the first African American principal dancer of American Ballet Theatre and is hailed by The New York Times as “one of the greatest dancers of his time.” He has appeared on celebrated stages across the world, namely The Metropolitan Opera, The Kennedy Center, Paris Opera, The Bolshoi Theatre, The Mariinsky Theatre, The State Kremlin Palace, Teatro Massimo and Teatro alla Scala. 

Rhoden, known internationally for his choreography, has been the lynchpin in developing Complexions’ repertory. He has created over 80 ballets for Complexions as well as numerous other companies. His work has filled some of the most prestigious theaters across the globe.

“Musicality, innovation, purpose, consistency, brilliant use of stage space and the ability to tell a story – all these qualities make him one of today’s elect choreographers,” stated an article in The LA Times.

The company’s foremost innovation is that dance should be about removing boundaries, not reinforcing them. 

“Whether it be the limiting traditions of a single style, period, venue 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,” said Rhoden. 

Tickets ($35-65) are available at overture.org.