Modern ballet pleases crowd

Sunday afternoon’s performance by Complexions Cotemporary Ballet at the Mercyhurst D’Angelo Performing Arts Center proved that support for dance still exists, and judging by the close-to-sold-out show, Erie wasn’t afraid to show it.

Complexions isn’t the typical ballet, though.

Celebrating its 17th year, the company embraces the idea of removing boundaries and not  enforcing them.

Pinned-nose, proper, jewelry box ballerinas aren’t what you’ll find here.

The company was founded by Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, two men with impressive résumés.

Between the two of them, they have been involved in productions such as E!, PBS, VH1, Cirque de Soleil, the Joffrey Ballet and, “So You Think You Can Dance?”

Together, the two created their own dance company where they weren’t limited by anything, and their visions and desires could come into fruition right before their eyes – and they have Complexions to prove it.

Aside from being extremely professional and talented, the Complexions dancers provided visual stimulation, beyond what any dance move could offer, and their costumes left nothing to the imagination.

Every male dancer was like an Adonis, and each woman his Venus. 

The performance began with “Moon Over Jupiter,” a theatrical interpretation of extraterrestrial life in outer space.

Their choreography noticeably told the story, and the audience had no problem following the storyline.

This act was set to classical music, heavy viola and bass, and the dancers wore plain, creamcolored costumes.

The show was definitely an evolution of life through art.

Act two began with a pas de deux, French for “step of two” and is what partnering is called in ballet.

This pas de deux was called “Spill,” which was an excerpt from a larger ballet with the same name, in a response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

After “Spill” swiftly wrapped up, “Moody Bootie Blues” began and immediately took the audience to a higher level, that of extreme sensuality and desire.

The company was dressed for a party, which propelled us closer into the present.

Each pas de deux flaunted the dancers’ extraordinary chemistry and perfectly chiseled bodies to the music of Roy Buchanan, a famous ‘60s blues musician.

The audience actually whistled at times during this act, because of how sultry and exciting the dancing really was.

One could tell the dancers were having fun with it, too.

Finishing up the act was “On Holiday,” a tribute to jazz singer Billie Holiday.

Ending the show was “Rise,” the best part of the whole performance.

The energy was through the roof and spread across the audience, as well.

This act was very “Eye of the Tiger” meets “The Final Countdown,” with music from the rock band U2.

At this point, we have reached the present day, and have the music to show for it.

Throughout the entire show, the dancers clearly gave it everything they had. From extravagant lifts, to acrobatic contortions, their choreography and energy never waned.

The best part of the performance was that each individual dancer was featured and seemed to have equal time on stage, except for what seemed to be the four main dancers.

Complexions Contemporary Ballet defied gravity, and the laws of humdrum ballet.

THERESA PFISTER

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