Complexions Contemporary Ballet

ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland

05/12/2007 - 09/12/2007

Production Details

Powerful, emotional, intense and energetic … Complexions Contemporary Ballet is simply stunning.

Founded by former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre stars Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, Complexions Contemporary Ballet celebrates excellence in dance with thought provoking and impassioned performance.

Based in New York, the company of 20 dancers is a mix of experience, culture, race and background, and draws on a huge range of influences – film, photography, TV, fashion, poetry, theatre, urban street dance and pop culture.

The famed American company makes its New Zealand debut with a gala programme at the Aotea Centre, The Edge® featuring the music of Prince, The White Stripes, Nina Simone and Chopin.

"Power, punch and pizzazz. For sheer exuberance, the dancers of Complexions Contemporary Ballet must hold the gold medal" The Age, Melbourne 2006

Cost:  $55 – $80 
Dates:  Wed 05 Dec 07 – Sun 09 Dec 2007, every day, 7:30pm
Venue:  ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, 50 Mayoral Drive, Auckland City
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Delicious melting pot of dance movement

Review by 06th Dec 2007

Because my friend Doris (who happens to have her own clothes label) said, when she sat down just before the curtain went up, how difficult it is finding something to wear to an occasion like this, my first thought on the curtain being raised was that the size of the suitcase for the (gorgeous) costumes for Complexions Dance Company would only have to be very tiny indeed! As the night moved on, colour changes in tiny shorts and leotards and the odd swathe of fabric seemed to barely distort what we all had really come to see.

Complexions dancers are a hybrid group of extraordinary technicians, who balance their technique with personality and quirky beauty. Dancers of this calibre, like any subset of elite athletes, have coded into the shape of their bodies, powered muscles and long tendons, which bespeaks the zillion hours of continuous training undergone.

They dance as though it was their last chance ever: shining flyaway moments captured in the particular bodies of Drew Jacoby (a newcomer), Christie Partelow, Kimi Nikaidoh, Gary Jeter II, Jeremy Nedd and Brian Arias. The lighting (designer, Michael Korsch) – for the most part top, and side – is also colourful and energetically built to enhance the fine tuned muscularity of the dancer bodies, the drama of sexy interplay between the dancers, and then leave us on each of those wonderful mimetic endings with a simple desire for more.

Dance is such an ephemeral art form. Dancers hold within their bodies a profound understanding of the subtleties of movement as well as the understanding of what is to be achieved through moments of movement. Nobody else gets to see what we saw last night, a different version maybe, dependent on the subtler shifts and changes of the dancers’ moods. The choreography allows for this.

I was sitting wondering, within the tumult of movement, about what I was actually seeing and was reminded of two things; the capacity for choreographers and dancers to invent gestural and perceptual movements, ones which have never been seen before and the musicality intrinsic to dance. According to Laws – dance physicist Kenneth Laws – dance may be seen as visible science, dealing with phenomena about the details of human experience less available to other means of deduction.

Last night’s fabulously musical works by Dwight Roden and a very funky short feast by Abdur- Rahim Jackson (tHe hArDeSt bUtToN to bUtToN, danced with massive grit by Christine Dooling) seemed to split up music, to capture the moments between notes or even the multiple possibilities of the space beyond the tune and the words of the composers and songwriters. It was so close to that private feeling of being moved by music.

What to say … I can’t quite believe how lucky we are; what sort of influence will this have on our dancers… Will they come again? Were they welcomed here? Is it appropriate to thank them for showing us this delicious melting pot of dance movement by a group of expressive mature artists?

Thank you Complexions Contemporary Ballet, for coming here. Along with Timberlake and Beckham you have made quite a splash on our local physical forms.  
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