The Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts is one of the few venues in Connecticut that still prioritizes dance as a major part of its annual programming. Aiming to offer programs that showcase a wide range of dance styles and genres, Jorgensen is off to a strong start with his upcoming performance by Complexions Contemporary Ballet.
Scheduled for February 3, the event will begin with an artists’ reception at the Jorgensen Art Gallery. Unbeknownst to many, Jorgenson not only holds live performances, but also hosts three to four major art exhibitions each year, requiring an enormous amount of behind-the-scenes work from Jorgensen’s staff.
“Artists are not available all the time. You kind of have to catch them at the right time and then figure out how to juggle it all and work in a season. It’s not an easy task and you have to work 12 to 18 months before a given season,” Jorgensen executive director Rodney Rock said in an email.
The gallery opens this year after a 23-month hiatus, kicking off Black History Month with Ashanté Kindle’s “A Dream Transformed.” Kindle, an MFA candidate from UConn’s School of Fine Arts, will present a series of abstract paintings inspired by the waveforms of natural, styled black hair. As a celebration of black culture, the exhibit will run through March 25.
After the artists’ reception, “Bach to Bowie” by Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Complexions was founded by male dancers Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richard, who originally made their mark as principal dancers at the famed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. Both artists have been dancers since childhood, mastering the complexity of classical ballet, as well as very different styles like hip-hop and jazz.
“You combine all of that expertise with their creative energy and you have a contemporary ballet powerhouse known as Complexions,” Rock said.
“ARTISTS ARE NOT AVAILABLE ALL THE TIME. YOU SOMEWAY HAVE TO CATCH THEM AT JUST THE RIGHT TIME AND THEN UNDERSTAND HOW TO JUGGLE ALL AROUND AND WORK IT IN A SEASON. THIS IS NOT AN EASY TASK AND YOU MUST WORK 12 TO 18 MONTHS BEFORE ANY SEASON.
Jorgensen Executive Director, Rodney Rock
The choreography is a non-traditional yet utterly captivating mix of contemporary and ballet – suited to the music featured in ‘Bach to Bowie’. The two-act show is not only a showcase of dance but also of music. The first act, entitled “Bach 25”, is inspired by the Baroque composers Johann Sebastian and Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach. The second act, “Stardust,” takes a dramatic and transformative turn, acting as a tribute to David Bowie and all things rock.
“These are two tracks at opposite ends of the musical spectrum. And yet, somehow, in the end, there was an attraction on some level that made sense to put them together in one program,” Rock remarked.
After the show, audience members can participate in a live Q&A session hosted by some of the company’s dancers for a chance to get to know the band better.
Doors open at 7 p.m. on February 3 and tickets ranging from $15.00 to $35.00 are currently available for purchase at Jorgensen Center website. Following Complexions Contemporary Ballet, an exciting February lineup includes “A Tribute to Aretha Franklin: Queen of Soul” and “Music for Two Pianos,” a showcase of UConn SFA faculty.