Press Room

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March 10, 2009
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

For general information about tickets, seating, parking, etc., for performances and events happening at the Center for the Arts, please contact the ticket office directly at 703-993-2787.




Saturday, April 11, 2009 at 8 p.m. 


FAIRFAX, Va., March 10, 2009 Named the “two of the most gorgeous virtuosos ever to emerge from Ailey Land” by New York Magazine, Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson founded Complexions Contemporary Ballet to explore powerful social, political and emotional issues through its use of cutting-edge choreography that is grounded in classical dance, original music and creative multimedia effects. Rhoden and Richardson wanted to express their appreciation for diversity and multiculturalism, and their company instantly received accolades for its brilliance and artistry. “Beware: the energy and spirit of this dance company are contagious.” (Holland Dance Festival) A pre-performance discussion, free to ticket holders, begins 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III.

The program includes several works by Resident Choreographer Dwight Rhoden, as well as one by Desmond Richardson. The performance begins with “Routines,” a fluid, abstract piece that explores the dual concept of “routines” – those performed by dancers on a stage and those executed in the course of the everyday life of a dancer. After a brief intermission, a trio of male dancers perform “Gone,” a piece about brotherhood, survival and the struggle to live through conflict. Following is an excerpt from “Momentary Forevers,” a work set to music by George Frederic Handel and John Cage; Desmond Richardson’s powerful and unrestrained “Fall”; an excerpt from “Moody Booty Blues” set to “When the Guitar Plays the Blues” by Roy Buchanan; and a piece called “Moonlight,” an excerpt from Rhoden’s “Frames,” performed by Desmond Richardson. After another intermission, the company performs “Rise,” which explores the dizzying journey of life in all its complexity and ecstasy, set to the anthem-like songs of U2. This program is subject to change.

When they formed Complexions in 1994, Rhoden and Richardson wanted their company to be a cultural microcosm of global unity. In the Philly Weekly Press, Rhoden described his first observation of his dancers: “There was every shade of skin tone, eyes of many different colors and artists of so many artistic backgrounds—ballet, modern, musical theater. We felt the word ‘Complexions’ would best reflect our company’s core principle of diversity.” The co-directors utilize a variety of stimulating multimedia such as film, music, poetry, art and theater in their performances. Rhoden’s electric choreography is set to an eclectic soundtrack that spans musical genres and centuries, including Bach, Chopin, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, John Mayer and the White Stripes. Dance Magazine described Rhoden’s work as, “post-Balanchinean choreography, a new aesthetic in movement, stage, picture and performance concepts reflecting a post-modern, techno-saavy worldview.” The company received the prestigious New York Times “Critics Choice” Award in 1995 and has since toured throughout the United States and abroad.

Described by The New York Times as “one of the most sought after choreographers of the day,” Dwight Rhoden has created and choreographed more than 60 ballets for Complexions. Under his tutelage, the company has performed at numerous dance venues and festivals around the world, including Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, the Mahalia Jackson Performance Art Center in New Orleans, Italy’s Festival of Dance and the Holland Dance Festival. Rhoden has performed with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and Les Ballet Jazz De Montreal, and he was a principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. He has received numerous awards, including the New York Foundation of the Arts Award, the Choo San Goh Award for Choreography and The Ailey School’s Apex Award. Rhoden has lectured and served as an “Artist in Residence” at universities across the country. He has also worked with such high-profile artists as Prince, Lenny Kravitz, Kelly Clarkson and Patrick Swayze, and most recently his choreography was featured on the Fox network’s hit television show, “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Having mastered classical, modern and contemporary dance, Desmond Richardson is hailed by The New York Times as “one of the most majestic dancers ever to tread the Met Stage.” He was a principal dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for seven years, and also performed with the Ballet Frankfurt in Germany. He was also a guest artist with several world-renowned companies including the Washington Ballet, Teatro at La Scala and the San Francisco Ballet. Richardson performed the lead role in the American Ballet Theatre’s world premiere production of “Othello”; appeared in on Broadway in “The Locks of Love” and Twyla Tharp and Billy Joel’s hit musical “Movin’ Out”; and he  received a 1999 Tony Award nomination for his performance in the Broadway Musical “Fosse.” He has performed with the likes of Madonna, Michael Jackson, Prince and Aretha Franklin, and recently appeared in Julie Taymor’s film “Across the Universe.” Richardson is the recipient of the Alvin Ailey School’s Apex Award and the prestigious Dance Magazine Award.


The Center for the Arts is pleased to recognize the generous support of PNC and the PNC Foundation as sponsor of the 2008-09 Great Performances at Mason Season. 

Tickets for COMPLEXIONS CONTEMPORARY BALLEY are $42, $34, $21. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K.  Visit

GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON is a program of George Mason University’s Center for the Arts, the professional presenting arm of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The College of Visual and Performing Arts exists to create an academic environment in which the arts may be considered both as individual disciplines and as interdisciplinary forms that strengthen each other.  Believing that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the College draws on a variety of professional presenting and producing units where artists from across the country and around the world regularly perform, give master classes, work with students during extended residencies and interact with the community in a variety of other ways. These programs at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, TheaterSpace, Galleries, Harris Theater and other venues, provide a diverse selection of challenging and entertaining cultural experiences for the University community, as well as Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area. The College houses four academic departments: Art and Visual Technology, Dance, Music and Theater.

About George Mason University

George Mason University, located in the heart of Northern Virginia’s technology corridor near Washington, D.C., is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with national distinction in a range of academic fields. With strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering, information technology, biotechnology and health care, Mason prepares its students to succeed in the work force and meet the needs of the region and the world. Mason professors conduct groundbreaking research in areas such as cancer, climate change, information technology and the biosciences, and Mason’s Center for the Arts brings world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Its School of Law is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 35 law schools in the United States.