BALLET’S BACK

Members of the Complexions Contemporary Ballet Simon Plant and Tatiana Melendez.
Rachel Neville

Complexions Contemporary Ballet, otherwise known as Complexions, returns to live performance at the Joyce Theater in Manhattan from Nov. 16-28.

The Joyce Theater is located at 175 Eighth Ave., at the corner of 19th Street and 8th Avenue.

Now in its 27th season, the company rolls onto the stage with two soulful programs featuring its signature boundary breaking style and a roster of some of today’s most exciting performers.

In its first week, Program A, the company will present the world premiere of “Snatched Back from the Edges.”

Originally conceived as a series of episodic dance films in early 2021, Complexions said dance enthusiasts will be captivated by “emotive movements that force us to consider the challenging time we are faced with in America.”

“Themes of isolation, racial injustice, fear, loss, power, pride, activism, and love are examined through the lens of today’s generation,” Complexions said. “’Snatched Back from the Edges’ celebrates the strength and resilience of the human spirit as we navigate an unprecedented time in history.”

Set to a diverse soundtrack featuring spoken word by Terrell Lewis and music, including Beethoven, Jon Batiste, Shirley Caesar, Tye Tribbett, Jessye Norman, Le’Andria Johnson and Aloe Blacc, Complexions said each vignette builds its own story by invoking a “raw and unfiltered response to real emotions.”

For the second half of this program, Complexions will present last season’s hit ballet “Love Rocks”, a full company piece set to works by the iconic GRAMMY Award-winning singer, producer and songwriter, Lenny Kravitz.

Dancers Thomas Dilley and April Watson. Rachel Neville

“Inspired by his vision and eclectic musicianship, this piece will follow Kravitz’s musical exploration, where his lush melodies and retro musical style lay a foundation for passionate storytelling through edgy, athletic and theatrical movement that examines humanity and its vulnerability,” Complexions said.

Dwight Rhoden, co-founding artistic director and choreographer for Complexions, said “Snatched Back from the Edges” is meant to be “a chronicle of the human spirit with all of its vulnerabilities.

“As the world faces a momentous time in history, we as people must face one other,” he said. “We know that the challenges, and our response to them ultimately determine our future.

“We naturally dig in for the answers and are aware that the solutions — yet to be realized — may be simple but never easy,” Rhoden added.

In the second week’s program, Program B, Complexions said patrons “can experience ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’, a suite of repertory favorites that capture the infinite beauty and grit of the heart.”

Included will be the soul-stirring solo, “Elegy,” dedicated to and inspired by Rhoden and legendary dancer Desmond Richardson’s belated mothers, excerpts from Bach 25 and “Snatched Back from the Edges,” among others.

During the run, Thursday, Nov. 18 will be dedicated to Complexions’ annual benefit performance.

Proceeds from the benefit performance will continue to help build Complexions’ educational initiatives through scholarships, mentorship programs and the continued development of Rhoden’s and Richardson’s methodology of dance training.

“The benefit performance will give audiences an opportunity to see the next generation of performers, as they grace the Joyce stage,” Complexions said.

In addition to the company performing excerpts from “Snatched Back from the Edges” and the full “Love Rocks” program, there will be a world premiere performed by the students of Complexions’ pre-professional program.

Performances will take place: Tuesday, Nov. 16, 7:30 pm, Program A; Wednesday, Nov. 17, 7:30 pm, Program A; Thursday, Nov. 18, 7:00 pm, Gala; Friday, Nov. 19, 8:00 pm, Program A; Saturday, Nov. 20, 2:00 pm, Program B; Saturday, Nov. 20, 8:00 pm, Program A; Sunday, Nov. 21, 2:00 pm, Program B; Tuesday, Nov. 23, 7:30 pm, Program B; Wednesday, Nov. 24, 7:30 pm, Program B; Friday, Nov. 26, 8:00 pm, Program A; Saturday, Nov. 27, 2:00 pm, Program B; Saturday, Nov. 27, 8:00 pm, Program A; Sunday, Nov. 28, 2:00 pm, Program B.

For more information on the Complexions Contemporary Ballet benefit performance, contact: Muadi Dibinga at [email protected].

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