Last updated July 31st 2016
Complexions Contemporary Ballet opened their Tel Aviv performance with elegance and verve, in a program that showcased the versatility and range of Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Complexions, choreographer Dwight Rhoden, and the dazzling company of dancers.
Opening with Bach, the evening embraced a variety of musical and dance genres, from ballet to the jazzy finale. In Ballad Unto…, set to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, seven couples perform a dance of love with exquisite precision, extensions, spins, and flashes of mischievous moves more reminiscent of the club scene than the stage. Entrances and exits abound, dancers emerge from the black background clad in deep reds and orange, like glowing embers, blazing delicate and muscular. Dancing love, in all its beauty, anxiety, and moments of tenderness.
Complexions is a company that revels in diversity, and this quality is reflected in a company of dancers who stand out as individuals, bringing an expressive, personal quality to the dance. All the dancers are immensely impressive, graceful, athletic, precise; each vividly unique in movement and interpretation, coming together in a compelling performance.
Short works and excerpts from full length works contributed to the evening’s rich palette of images and sensibilities. Gone, performed by Kelly Marsh IV, Nehemiah Spencer and Timothy Stickney was an eloquent ode to the pain of suffering and oppression, to the timeless music of Odetta. An outstretched arm and upward look seems to ask: from when shall come my aid? The answer is on the ground, as they find their solace in one another. In an excerpt from Cryin’ to Cry Out, Young Sil Kim and Terk Lewis Waters perform a romantic duet to Jimmy Scott’s “When Did You Leave Heaven.” Choreographer Rhoden’s use of space is always intriguing, here, the couple is physically apart throughout, creating a dance of longing with notes of jazz. A stirring excerpt from Chronicle, performed to a score by drummer percussionist composer David Rozenblatt, invites one’s curiosity about the full work. Ashley Mayeux and Andrew Brader performed a striking and poignant duet to the traditional Amazing Grace – it was divine. Evoking the gospel tradition and images of devout rapture, the manifestations of the spirit in the body.
The world premiere of Ido Tadmor’s HA-E 42, a duet for Tadmor and Co-founder and Co-artistic director of Complexions, the legendary dancer Desmond Richardson. The dance began in silence, with Richardson standing alone in the spotlight, lips moving as if in silent conversation. Tadmor approaches, and the two begin a graceful, and emotionally laden duet, set to the music of Max Richter. There is a sense of challenge and conflict, perhaps internal, perhaps external, and a feeling of comrades in arms. A moving duet of two powerful dancers.
The evening came to a close with the exuberant tribute to the music of Stevie Wonder – Innervisions. Playful, bold and brash, with lots of attitude and groove – a mesmerizing celebration of movement!
Performances: Thursday, July 21st at 20:00; Friday, July 22nd at 13:00; Saturday, July 23rd at 21:00. Israeli Opera – Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center, 19 Shaul HaMelech Blvd, Tel Aviv. Ticket prices range from 149 – 299 NIS, and may be ordered from the Israeli Opera website.