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Complicacy… Complicity… Complexions

Anna Azarova
16 October 2018

Star Dust is a new and bold experiment set to songs by British rock icon David Bowie

A huge success in New York, Star Dust features the talents of the US-based Complexions Contemporary Ballet formed by pioneering choreographer Dwight Rhoden and prominent dancer Desmond Richardson. Director of the world-famous The Great Gatsby, Rhoden brings a fresh vision to action and picture, while Richardson is praised for his expressive style and brilliant technique. What’s On talks to Rhoden to find out more about the cutting-edge production and inspiring choreography enhanced with immortal hits like Space Oddity and Rock N ‘Roll Suicide.      

Why the name – Complexions?

Different people are involved in making our ballet and we’ve created a platform where they can explore their unique abilities. Together we add something new to a classical form of dance and what we get is called Complexions.

How many dancers do you have and where do they all come from?

There are 21 main dancers. Most are from the US, but we also have people from Japan, Australia, and Korea. Each dancer has studied in a ballet school and devoted their life to ballet, and each is a unique personality with exceptional qualities. Together we make a big single unit.

What is the main difference between traditional ballet and the Complexions style?

We have long gone beyond boundaries of classical ballet; this, it is a fundamental our choreography is based upon. We still dance wearing pointe shoes, which aren’t traditionally used in contemporary dance. Moreover, we combine ballet with hip-hop, which is not inherent in classical ballets or modern dance. We don’t intend to stick to one style only, we just do what we like without focusing on one direction.

Desmond Richardson is fairly well-known in his sphere – he landed a prominent role in High Strung Free. Tell us about that.

Desmond has experience in shooting and participating in shows. Any dance experience is useful, and filming can teach you a lot.

You began dancing at 17 and went on to do great things. How is it that starting so late in your dance career allowed you to accomplish so much?

Yes, it was late and no one, not even my relatives, really believed in me. Nevertheless, I did not listen to anyone, I practiced a lot and, as a result, now I do what I love. It is great that my choreography resonates with people.

What is it about David Bowie that inspired you to stage this performance?

I grew up listening to his songs; he was always around. The visual component of Bowie’s creative potential is impressive. For me, he is like a chameleon, a man who has and implements so many ideas. I want my dance to express my admiration for him and for what he did.

What was the easiest/hardest thing about creating this show?

When we are on tour, apart from the ballet, we bring along the props. Some stages are not adjusted for our props, and we have to find quick solutions.

What is your diet?

I have to be careful with varenyky, because I gained weight while eating them in Ukraine the last time (laughing). Unlike dancers, I don’t need to adhere to a strict diet. However, it is important for me to move a lot and drink enough water.

What would you like to tell WO readers?

Do not be afraid of doing what you like and never doubt yourself!

“The visual component of Bowie’s creative potential is impressive. For me, he is like a chameleon, a man who has and implements so many ideas”

Star Dust: Complexions
(US, contemporary dance)
25 November at 19:00
October Palace (Nebesnoi Sotni 1)
350 – 2 250 UAH
icca.kiev.ua

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