Complexions Performance and Master Class Review

Complexions Contemporary Ballet was the first of eight companies to perform at the Prince Theatre in downtown Philadelphia, as part of Dance Affiliate’s NextMove series.

Complexions Co-Founder Dwight Rhoden arranged seven of his works for the Philadelphia stage.

The show opened with Ballad Unto… a Philadelphia premiere. With each articulation of the spine and brush of the arabesque, seven couples poured emotions of love and heartbreak into brisk and graceful movements en pointe.  Seamless partnering and gestural unison sections made the piece successful.

Next in the program was Gone, a trio performed by Kelly Marsh IV, Greg Blackmon and Timothy Stickney that illustrated a fight for survival. The men captured this motif beautifully, transitioning with ease from soars and darts through the air to complex floor work. The choreography and concept of the piece illuminated the athleticism of these three professionals.

Addison Ector stole the stage in Choke, a male duet exploding with themes of dominance and competition. Ector’s facials remained casual and royal while he whipped out triple attitude turns followed by a series of controlled extensions.

The final piece took an enormous risk on dance and artistry and succeeded with flying colors. Strum was a full company piece set to the music of Metallica. Watching this piece was like tasting, smelling and touching a rock concert through dance. The walking pathways were one of the most powerful aspects. Timothy Stickney stole the spotlight, expressing qualities of insanity, passion and pure stardom.


Master Class with Ashley Mayeux

On Friday, I attended the Complexions master class at Philadanco!, taught by dancer Ashley Mayeux.

I was surprised to find the class was mostly filled with younger dancers, around high school age, with little training in ballet or contemporary techniques. After a standard, fairly easy ballet barre, Ashley taught us part of a Complexions finale dance. The choreography was very basic and more fun than technical. I think this was largely due to the skill level of the class. Although I was somewhat disappointed that the master class was not up to the level or rigor that I expected, I appreciated Ashley’s professionalism and willingness to cater the class to the average ability level of the room. She made the class enjoyable for all of the dancers. If nothing else, I obtained valuable information from watching Ashley in class. I observed her artistic choices and studied how I can apply these choices to my dancing.



-Meghan McFerran

B.F.A. Dance

B.A. Journalism

Exclusive Interview with Complexions Contemporary Ballet Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director Desmond Richardson

The New York Times recognizes Complexions Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director Desmond Richardson as “One of the great modern dancers of his time.“ Richardson is praised for his captivating and cutting-edge work in the dance field. I had the privilege of asking Richardson about his life dedication to dance.

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When you were a young boy, you think you would be where you are today in your career?

When I was a young boy, I never thought I’d have the career I have today. Dancing has brought to me a wealth of experience and knowledge of the world, it’s exactly what I imagined it to be.

What inspires you to create new work?

What inspires me to create is my passion and how I view the world around me.

How do you recover from a bad day?

I recover from a bad day by breathing deep and realizing that I’m still standing, living and breathing and perhaps I may get another chance to explore and investigate this life a little bit more.

How would you define the word “success?”

I would define the word “success” as staying curious, on a continuous quest of exploration of myself.

What was a life-changing moment in your dance career?

Working with Michael Jackson.

What is one piece of advice you would give to young aspiring dancers?

Follow your passion. Be real, be honest and be in the moment so that your work reads across the foot lights.

You and Dwight Rhoden now offer a DVD, “Complexions Technique” in which dancers can receive Complexions training in their own homes. How has this product impacted you in the dance business, and what results have you seen after the DVD’s release?

Dwight and I have realized that it is certainly time to build a school and training ground for the next generation of formidable dancers.

What are your personal goals for the future and how to you set/achieve goals for yourself?

My goals for the future are immense, so to nail it down to one simple goal is daunting. I will tell you that a one man show for me is in the works and a lot of my energies are going toward that endeavor.

Click HERE to read a review of Complexions performance and master class in Philadelphia!


Meghan McFerran

B.F.A. Dance

B.A. Journalism

Complexions Contemporary Ballet Comes to Philadelphia

Complexions Contemporary Ballet, an internationally recognized ballet company based out of New York City, will perform at the Prince Theater in Philadelphia from October 14-18.

Founded by former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancers Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden, Complexions is recognized worldwide not only for impeccable training and technique, but dedication to dynamic and passionate movement for more than 20 years. The highly technical dancers of Complexions Contemporary Ballet aim to break all cultural and stylistic boundaries to create an open dance environment that emphasizes multi-ethnicity and connection with life’s journeys.

As a means to share and spread their culture, Complexions recently designed Beyond 20, a campaign that plans to nationally expand the company. Beyond 20’s first initiative is opening a new Complexions office in Atlanta, Georgia. Philadelphia is an important stop along the way in this campaign.

The company is excited to perform and share their art here in the city of brotherly love, says Dwight Rhoden, Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet. “Philadelphia has always been a warm and inviting audience for Complexions and what we love about Philadelphia is that there is always an amazing energy in the theater. People seem to be always engaged, ready to love dance,” Rhoden said.

Dancer Ashley Mayeux

Complexions Dancers Ashley Mayeux and Andrew Brader

What can you expect to see at the show next week?

Complexions will premiere three pieces in Philadelphia: And So It Is, Cryin’ to Cry Out, and Strum. Each work aims to pull at various emotional strings to capture human emotion and connect with a range of audience members.

And So It Is is a piece en pointe that reflects love, dreams and fate, set to the elegant music of Johann Sebastian Bach.

The work Cryin’ to Cry Out is inspired by Jazz singer Jimmy Scott and expresses how to cope with pain during times of heartbreak.

Strum is a large group work that emphasizes individual voices and story telling. Set to the music of Metallica, Strum exposes the questioned themes of life, death and evolution.

Amidst these new groundbreaking pieces will be a sprinkling of works from the past 20 years of Complexions’ diverse repertory. The program includes motifs of brotherhood, survival, faith, history, and personal journeys.

The New York Times recognizes Complexions Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director Desmond Richardson as “One of the great modern dancers of his time.“ Richardson is praised for his captivating and cutting-edge work in the dance field. I had the privilege of asking Richardson about his life dedication to dance. Click HERE to read the exclusive interview.

Get your tickets today!










The performances will take place:

Wednesday, October 14 at 7:30PM

Thursday, October 15 at 7:30PM

Friday, October 16 at 8:00 PM

Saturday, October 17 at 2:00PM and 8:00 PM

Sunday, October 18 at 3:00 PM


To stay updated with Complexions in Philadelphia, visit

Follow @ComplexionsNYC on Twitter

Complexions Contemporary Ballet on Facebook


Meghan McFerran

B.F.A. Dance

B.A. Journalism