Contemporary ballet


One night only, on a world tour with a stop at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, is Complexions Contemporary Dance From Bach to Bowie February 15 at Ferguson Hall.

Founded in 1994 by co-collaborators and former members of Alvin AleyDwight Rhoden, master choreographer and legendary dancer Desmond RichardsonComplexions transcends tradition to infuse a revolutionary mix of styles from hip hop to ballet into an exhilarating production.

Desmond said audiences should expect the “unexpected”.

“We use all types of music, from Bach to Bowie. We like to engage the audience so they can have an arch for the evening,” he said.

With a summary of the experience and pages and pages of accolades – from being the first black American principal dancer in American Ballet Theater to be nominated for a Tony Award for his role in the original cast of the musical Broadway, Fosse – dancing was not just a calling for Desmond, but a calling.

“It’s a pretty spiritual thing. I think the moment I saw it on TV on Great performance, I knew I wanted to dance. There are people who like to dance, but for me it’s a vocation. I’m glad I’ve done it in the many places I’ve done it. I have danced on the main stages of the world, from the Metropolitan Opera to the Opéra de Paris via the Bulshoi Ballet in Russia. For me, playing in all these different places and sharing my art is profound.”

The sold-out performances of Dwight and Desmond’s Complexions received outstanding reviews, but Desmond is particularly appreciative of a recent response from an audience member following a performance in Portland, Oregon.

“She said oh my god I didn’t know what to expect but I know I didn’t expect to be out of my seat and dancing. She was a big fan of david bowie. She was so happy to see the show and to be taken on this thought-provoking, engaging and entertaining journey,” Desmond explained. “Dancing is usually what audience members do. We want the public to have fun. From the first ballet titled Ballet Unto about love and relationships to a new ballet Stardust to the music of david bowiein the end, we want the audience to have a good time.”

Regularly priced tickets for the Thursday, February 15, 8 p.m. performance of Complexions Contemporary Ballet From Bach to Bowie are $29.50 – $45.50. Tickets can be purchased by calling 813.229.7827, in person at the Straz Center ticket office or online at