Aotea Centre at THE EDGE®, Auckland

29/09/2010 - 02/10/2010

Tempo Dance Festival 2010

Production Details

Featuring the music of U2, Rachmaninoff, Billie Holiday, Roy Buchanan 

New York contemporary ballet company Complexions, redefined dance to Auckland audiences in 2007 with their breath-taking premiere season. Their highly anticipated return season of new work is now confirmed this September at the ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre. 

RISEbyComplexions, featuring the music of U2, Rachmaninoff, Billie Holiday and Roy Buchananis presented by THE EDGE® International Arts Season and CAMI spectrum from Wednesday, September 29 for four unique performances only. 

This New York ensemble is an assault on the senses – a delicious assault. They dance like those possessed: classically trained to the fullest of extension, lift, leap and long balance, with a physicality that involves every sparking cell of their extraordinary bodies” – The NZ Herald. 

Since the inception of Complexions in 1994, founding Co-Artistic Directors Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson have set over 70 works for the company and toured across the globe with great acclaim. Their philosophy has always encouraged a strong technical foundation, physicality and versatility coupled with an artist’s uniqueness, individuality and passion.

Overflowing with power and speed, Rhoden’s powerful choreography, the company’s 14 technically brilliant and diverse dancers bring together an explosive hybrid of ballet, contemporary dance, jazz and hip-hop styles into one thrilling experience. 

In their new Auckland season RISE, Complexions encompasses powerful dynamic ensembles, poignant duets and solos in a mesmerizing program that is guaranteed to dazzle Auckland audiences. 

“Mr Rhoden’s choreography was like hot molten lava; flowing with undeniable power. Mr Richardson is one of the great modern dancers of his time….with extraordinary skills.” The New York Times 

In an interview last year with US Dance Writer, Michelle Vellucci, when asked why he thinks Complexions is so good at connecting with audiences Dwight Rhoden says: “The work itself is very eclectic. You may have a performance that begins with Chopin and ends with U2. The movement itself is a mélange of all different types of stuff – there are influences of street dance, but you’ll also see classicism. The dancers dance on pointe and they dance barefoot. There’s that diversity in almost every aspect of the organization. Then to top that off you have a very multicultural cast with people from all different parts of the world and all types of bodies and looks. The typical, skinny ballerina looks isn’t what we go for.” 

Make sure you take a breath and prepare yourself for an energy charged night of unrelenting physically stunning dance by Complexions.

RISE Program: 

Act I
New Work – Title TBA

Act II 
Moody Booty Blues – Music by Roy Buchanan
What Rhoden terms as a “hot little five minute romp through tunes by Roy Buchanan.

Is a refreshing step into the modern where ladies dressed in crimson come in swinging their hips to accompany the male dancers. The mood is that of a nighttime bar, and the energy is bash and youthful. The dance fluidly mixes the contemporary thumps and oomph with the supple elasticity of classical ballet” Daily News, Egypt.

On Holiday – Various songs made famous by Billie Holiday (Premiere)
Click – Various House Artists (Premiere)
Rise – Music by U2
An electrifying work set to the powerful music of U2 will close the performance. “U2’s music has a thread of passion running through it that connects with the heart and soul. That energy – which has become a backdrop for the celebration of the human spirit in many ways – creates the inspiration for this work”. This is the first time U2 has granted permission for the use of their work in a ballet, and Rhoden has created a momentous piece to rise to the occasion. “I want to inspire audiences to reach into their core for their own happiness. I want Rise to be powerful yet joyful, to help all of us see the possibilities in the world,” explains Rhoden. “I want this dance to make a connection with the audience… I want them to leave the theatre hopeful.” Joyce Theater Release ‘08
RISE by Complexions
September 29 & 30, October 1 & 2 – 7.30pm
Ticket prices:
$99.90 Premium Elite
$79.90 Premium
$69.90 A Reserve
$39.90 B Reserve
$19.90 Students (limited numbers & only Opening Night)
ASB Theatre, The Aotea Centre, THE EDGE
Bookings: 0800 BUYTICKETS or www.buyticketsz
Tickets on sale Wednesday, July 7

Unsurpassable expertise

Review by Shanon O'Sullivan 30th Sep 2010

Dwight Roden and Desmond Richardson’s New York based Complexions Contemporary Ballet Companygreet us with pizzazz and the aplomb of an all star cast. As their second guest appearance to New Zealand in recent years, Complexions latest spectacular extravaganza undeniably lives up to the show’s title.

Majestic dancers grace the stage, and with their powerful and sinewy supple limbs they perform with finesse and flair as true masters of their craft. A mélange of contemporary balletic forms with elements of jazz, hip hop and voguing are presented in a series of three acts which are accompanied by eclectic musical scores of Rachmaninov, Buchanan, and U2.

From the moment the curtain rises, dancers glide across the stage with effortless ease. The precision and energy in their technique and form is faultless as they weave between duets, solo and group segments. Torsos contort and contract, legs are elevated to tremendous heights, and arms and hands move like liquid gold.

Sleek and slinky costumes in a range of deep rich colours grace the dancers’ athletic forms and highlight their lithe limbs. The women’s ballet shoes tap the floor as they rise and fall with lightning speed, and when performing in heels that speed is unremitting and astounding. The men’s agility and strength is profound as they display countless flips, twists, turns and splits. Women appear light as feathers as men lift and transport them from one space to another across the stage.

A visual array of lighting and projected art works provides an effective tool to complement the performance. The frequent use of singular and multiple spotlights sends shafts of light onto the dancers, highlighting their moving forms. As dancers enter and depart the stage, lighting consistently allows our gaze to follow the steady flow of actions as they unfold.

Highlights from the performance include a dramatic and sensual duet between Wendy White Sasser and Juan Rodriguez in My Man (Mon Homme). The fluid and passionate way in which these two dancers perform is simply stunning. A solo performance by Artistic Director Desmond Richardson in Goldberg Variation displays the magnetic and mighty presence of the consummate genius. Marc Caserta, Peter Chursin, Tercell Waters, Patricia Hachey and Christie Partelow sashay and strut in Moody Booty Blues in a fun and engaging manner, in which the audience is taken along for the ride.  

Intermittently the musical score overpowers the actions of the dancers on stage which may have been due in part to its outgoing high volume. The performance has a spectacular entertainment value, yet the works appear to be abstract rather than thematic and choreographic elements are at times somewhat repetitive. 

However, as the grand finale presents the company in its entirety on stage in which rock band U2 provides a musical medley, Rise illustrates a striking visual feast as dancers form well defined structural formations and fly like the wind in and out of each other’s space. As U2 sings the final melody, ‘It’s a Beautiful Day’, we see the dancers let go of all restraint. Their unwavering energy is contagious and as the show comes to an end the audience gives their seal of approval with huge applause and a standing ovation.  

These highly trained and skilled dancers display a level of expertise that is unsurpassable. Judging from the audience’s receptive response, Complexions has undoubtedly entertained and left a significant impression with its Auckland audience on opening night.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


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