Sunday, May 26, 2024

Dance Review: Summer Stage Presents Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Others

Summer Stage, Michael Seto PhotographyA hot night of dance at Central Park Summer Stage begins with audience-thrilling performances by winners of this year’s DRA, Dancers Responding to Aids Competition.  Nine women and one male dance with passion and conviction, conveying silent fury within.  Seated in silence at a table, the dance dialogue begins with the women’s white dresses twirling as they spin out of their chairs to the floor, rising and falling in record speed.  A male soloist shows his individual strength by powerfully taking the women up in the air with lifts and turns.  Gesturing of the hands specifically express what otherwise could be spoken or felt between women and men as they strike out above others on the table.  In a piece called Awkward Silence, there is nothing to be silent about it.  Intensity and precision is felt as the music ends, but the dancers continue to move powerfully in unison.


Summer Stage 2010, Michael Seto Photography New Jersey Dance Theater Ensemble immediately follows this performance with dancers rushing forward with explosive jumps first in a trio then all.  An emergency and freedom bellows out from the music that the dancers react to in pain.  They walk slowly to the percussive beats then repeat a sequence of intricate fast movement in unison.  All rise and fall in a circle then collapse to the floor in an exciting finish leaving the audience in awe.


Summer Stage 2010, Michael Seto PhotographyDwight Rhoden greets an excited audience with his introduction of Complexions Contemporary Ballet.  Complexions opens the show turning Central Park Summerstage into a cathedral with Mercy.  The dancers are angels in white who dance to various spiritual chants, rhythms, and gospel.  First four women then five men enter and exit through red streamers.  A male soloist in red makes a striking presence as he pleads for mercy with clear technique, extension, and passion.  He acts as a man knocking on the door of heaven.  Men exit lifting him above their heads as women enter with fast bourées.  Large booms in the music signal the climax when the men fall from grace, and the dancers return with black buckets beneath them while circling, rising, falling, and extending into beautiful balletic lines.  At the sound of bells, a soloist woman enters in a purple corset with her long curly hair flowing as she promenades á la second into precise turns and jumps in second position.  On "boom," all run and explode while men fall to the floor before rising into forward attitude swings.  Lines run through each other.  Women dig Are You A Dancer RED JS 336heels into the floor as a fire-like intensity rises from the earth to above that shakes their upper torsos in a trance.  All of us have experienced mercy-the audience is clearly relating as they sit on edge of seats.

The stage lights lower to black out, and the mood immediately changes.  Summerstage is now a smoky club scene with a solo performance of Moonlight by the extraordinary Desmond Richardson.  He enters with a chair and sits as the audience eagerly awaits his next move. His fluid movement articulates every word and expression of the vocalist. “What color is my soul if loneliness is black,” are the lyrics of the song.  Showing strength and passion, he powerfully extends muscular limbs reaching a leg in extension and an arm in presentation of a red flower to the audience.  His turning inward to contract and releasing out to reach to the audience is beautiful poetry in motion.

Complexions -Summer Stage 2010, Michael Seto PhotographyThe mood remains intense with feelings of love and the blues as Billy Porter and a jazz trio accompany the dancers on stage.  Four couples seductively stand together in hues of red, blue, green, and purple.  Each couple dances their love story expressing a different feeling and interpretation of the songs of Billie Holiday.  Each movement shows the perfect blend of jazz ,contemporary and ballet vocabulary.  The dancers evoke feelings of despair, love, rejection, anger, and the resolve of being together again with a significant other.  It is a beautiful premiere of a new work by the company.


Complexions -Summer Stage 2010, Michael Seto Photography The dancers of Complexions close the show running in place. One dancer starts then others join in filling the stage with excitement and the sounds of U2. Rise, a popular audience favorite, causes immediate response with people standing, clapping and singing along.  Dancers now invite all to enjoy the power of movement for the finale.  Bright hues of red and orange light up the stage as dancers jump, leap, turn, run forward, pass through one another and stop to boogie down and rock.  Complexions finishes brilliantly with several rounds of applause.  What a delight to see the audience leaving in celebration continuing to clap out and dance to themselves as they exit!  It is a “Beautiful Day” for Complexions Dance Company and a perfect night for dance at Central Park Summerstage.

All Photography by Michael Seto

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Official Dance Review by Carmen M. Carriker
Performance: Summer Stage Presents Complexions Contemporary Ballet
Venue:  Summerstage in Central Park 
Show Date: August 10, 2010

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One Response to “Dance Review: Summer Stage Presents Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Others”
  1. Jerry says:

    Pics are nice and the post is also informative. Thanks for share..

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