Complexions Contemporary Ballet Shines in Stardust

Complexions, Star Dust, Credit: Sharen Bradford-2019
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On Saturday night, February 3, 2024, Complexions Contemporary Ballet graced the stage of The
Auditorium Theatre, 60 E. Ida B. Wells Drive, Chicago, in a single night performance notable
for tight and accomplished choreography, a meld of classical and modern ballet with an edgy
fluidity. The first half of the program consisted of 5 pieces from the company’s repertoire
spanning 2006-2022- three of them excerpts from larger works. The second half consisted entirely
in STARDUST, A Ballet Tribute to David Bowie. All the dances were choreographed by co-
founder Dwight Rhoden, with intensely spot-on lighting design by Michael Korsch; except for
glitzy/sexy costumes by DRSquared in CHOKE, all costume design was by Christine Darch.

The excerpt from Hissy Fits, 2006, performed by The Company in nearly nude Spanx-esque
leotards and shorts, to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, was a visually captivating piece
opening with the dancers distributed across the entire width of the stage, slowly and singly
descending and then startlingly engaging/assuming a myriad of different groupings, postures
and turns- especially focused on elevated arm work- quite dramatic.

Global Complexions-Star Dust,No Text,No Orange Hands or White Line

CHOKE, 2006, a duet beautifully and purposefully danced by Christian Burse and Marissa
Mattingly to Summer from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, was a push me-pull you study in
contrasting mood and energy.

THE excerpt from ENDGAME/LOVE ONE, 2022, performed by Chloe Duryea and Miguel Solano
to J.S. Bach in exquisite primary colored dancewear was a physical expression of the myriad
faces of love, stretching imagination and gymnastic artistry to the fullest extent.

ELEGY, 2020, was a solo piece danced by tall, muscularly stunning Jillian Davis to Beethoven’s
Kyriena; this was a physical meditation on grace without languor- almost feline in it’s sharp,
staccato, sensuous sequencing.

Global Complexions,Star Dust, No Text ,No Orange Hands or White Line

The excerpt WORK IT OUT from SNATCHED BACK FROM THE EDGE, 2021, was danced in
spare/double-hued costumes by The Company to the music of numerous diverse artists
including Jon Batiste and Frederic Chopin; this was a post-modern and quite powerful
comment on the lessons of The Pandemic, evoking suffering morphing into strength.

The Company piece STARDUST, 2016, was danced, of course, to the music of Bowie (and Brian
Eno)- 8 pieces were sung by Bowie, with HEROES from the album of that name, released in
1977, covered by Peter Gabriel. The second half of the evening was a dance concert in and of
itself, and of a different order; it was a mini opera. Each of the songs featured a male dancer as
the maestro-star, they patently expressed an aspect of Bowie himself. Also, each of the songs chosen seemingly represented a different side of The Artist; some of them, like the finale blockbuster
“Young Americans” had been mega-hits; all were representative of his style at different times in
his career, and each was carefully, wittily, candidly portrayed in glorious costumery, and in the personality of the dance it was set upon, with many artistic CHCHCHChanges. Even Bowie’s iconic tightly held strut was suggested, but never imitated with the dancers on pointe and in perfect balance. The whole performance was imbued with an arch coolness lightly covering wit and sheer fun- and set the audience to loud cheers.

Photos were provided by the Silverman Group


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