DWIGHT RHODEN DESMOND RICHARDSON
Dwight Rhoden has established a remarkably wide-ranging career, earning distinction from The New York Times as “one of the most sought out choreographers of the day.” A native of Dayton, Ohio who began dancing at age 17, Rhoden has performed with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, and as a principal dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. As a performer, he has appeared in numerous television specials, documentaries and commercials throughout the United States, Canada and Europe, and has been a featured performer on many PBS Great Performances specials.
In 1994, Rhoden and legendary dancer Desmond Richardson founded Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Together they have brought their unique brand of contemporary dance to the world for nearly two decades. Complexions is widely considered as “America’s Original Multicultural Dance Company,” and is celebrated for its pioneering spirit, and the building of a universal brand that continues to challenge traditional ideas, and redefine possibilities in the dance arena.
Under Rhoden’s direction, Complexions has become a dance institution that is much in demand. Leading the way as a destination for innovation through courageous and cutting edge programming, Complexions has become a force to be reckoned with. Over the years, Complexions has remained consistent in delivering a profound passion for diversity that has framed its vision and become its hallmark.
For nearly two decades, Rhoden’s choreography has been the lynchpin in the development of the Complexions repertory. For over 18 years, Rhoden’s work has filled some of the most prestigious theaters across the globe, including The Joyce Theater/NY, The Bolshoi Theater/Moscow, The Mariinsky Theatre/St Petersburg, Maison de la Danse/Lyon, The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion/Los Angeles, Brooklyn Academy of Music/NY, Cairo Opera House/Egypt, The Arts Center/Australia. The Auditorium Theater/Chicago, Telaviv Opera House/Israel, The ASB Theater/New Zealand, Holland Dance Festival, Grand Théȃtre de Genève/Switzerland, Isle De Dance Festival/Paris, to name a few. Complexions and Rhoden’s work has been presented on five continents and in over 20 countries, including the United States, Canada, South America, Mexico, Europe, Asia, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, The Baltic Region, Egypt, Israel, and the Middle East. “Musicality, innovation, purpose, consistency, a brilliant use of stage space and the ability to tell a story -- all these qualities make him (Rhoden) one of today's elect choreographers.” --The LA Times
Since 1994, Rhoden has created over 80 ballets for Complexions, as well as numerous other companies, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Arizona Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, BalletMet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Colorado Ballet, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, The Joffrey Ballet, Miami City Ballet, New York City Ballet/Diamond Project, North Carolina Dance Theatre, The Pennsylvania Ballet, Philadanco, Mariinsky Ballet/Kirov, Minneapolis Dance Theater, Phoenix Dance Company, Sacramento Ballet, Oakland Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, The Washington Ballet, and Zenon Dance Company, among others. Mr. Rhoden has also directed and choreographed for television, film, theater, and live performances, including So You Think You Can Dance, E! Entertainment’s Tribute to Style, Amici, and Cirque Du Soleil’s Zumanity, and choreographed and appeared in the feature film One Last Dance. He has also worked with, and/or created works for such high-profile artists as Prince, Lenny Kravitz, Kelly Clarkson, ELEW, David Rozenblatt, Nicholas Payton, The Drifters, Paul Simon, Billy Strayhorn, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, U2, The Turtle Creek Chorus, and Patrick Swayze. Rhoden was recently commissioned to create a work for the centennial celebration of renowned collage artist Romare Bearden and choreograph The Great Gatsby for the Mariinsky Theatre that premiered this fall. “Rhoden’s work is post-Balanchinean choreography, a new aesthetic in movement, stage, picture, and performance concepts reflecting a post-modern, techno-savvy worldview.” --Dance Magazine
Widely known as “a dancer’s choreographer,” Rhoden has worked with, coached, and created for some of the most diverse artists spanning the worlds of ballet and contemporary dance, including legendary dance artists Carmen De Lavallade, Wendy Whelan, Maria Kowroski, Diana Vishneva, Desmond Richardson, Sandra Brown, Jodie Gates, and Gus Solomon, to name a few. Rhoden is the Resident Choreographer of North Carolina Dance Theatre and has lectured, taught, created works for and served as artist in residence at universities around the United States, including New York University, Juilliard, UC Irvine, Skidmore College, and The University of Mississippi, where his 2004 Racial Reconciliation Project was credited as a catalyst for dialogue in a community that has been historically divided.
Rhoden is a beneficiary recipient of various honors and awards, including the New York Foundation for the Arts Award, The Choo San Goh Award for Choreography, and The Ailey School’s Apex Award in recognition of his extensive contributions to the field of dance. In 2014, Dwight Rhoden was celebrated with a Honorary Doctorate Degree from Boston Conservatory and was inducted into the Hall of Fame from New York Foundation for the Arts for outstanding choreography.
With his technical virtuosity and statuesque expressive demeanor. Desmond Richardson has been hailed as among the great dancers of his time. Lara Hartley poetically described him on the Ballet Magazine website as a " Moving Sculpture, body that is art, passing through time and space with power and grace -- all parts connected, never stopping but heart stopping in beauty and complexity."
Richardson is an international performer, trained at the High School of the Performing Arts in NY, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Center & the International Summer Dez Tanz in Köln, Germany. He has been a Principal dancer with The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater , American Ballet Theater and Ballet Frankfurt under the direction of William Forsythe, has guested and collaborated with such notable artists and companies domestically and internationally with Alessandra Ferri, Sarita Allen ,Wendy Whelan, Carmen Delavallade, Diana Vishneva, Ido Tadmor, Julio Bocca, appearing with the San Francisco Ballet, Royal Swedish Opera Ballet, Washington Ballet & many others.
Touring extensively throughout the world Richardson has danced on the most important stages such as The Met, Teatro al la Scala , Paris Opera, The Bolshoi in Moscow & Mariinsky Theater St. Petersburg Russia.
He has appeared on Broadway in the original cast of Fosse. Twyla Tharp Movin Out as Tony and received his singing debut in Burt Bacharach/ Hal David production The Look Of Love" choreographed by Ann Reinking and Scott Ellis and is the recipient of the prestigious Tony Award nomination, The Dance Magazine Award, Capezio Award, LA Ovation award, Bessie award, 1986 YoungArts alumnus & Presidential Scholar of the Arts.
Richardson has appeared as Celebrity guest performer and choreographer on hit T.V. shows, films and stage productions, such as Italy's "AMICI", America, Australia and Israel's "So You Think You Can Dance" for six seasons, principal performer in Debbie Allen's musical Soul Posessed, Julie Taymor's, Opera Grendel, Teatro al la Scala production of Moise e Pharoné with Roberto Bolle, featured performer with Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna & Aretha Franklin in Countless commercials and films such as Oscar Winning Hit Chicago, Taymor's Across The Universe, Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niemi One Last Dance and Charles Randolph Wright Preaching to the choir.
Richardson recently hosted the fifth anniversary special of Larry Rosen’s “Jazz Roots” held in Miami at the Adrienne Arsht Center and performed with vocal master Mr. Bobby Mcferrin.
Richardson continues to give back as a master teacher involved in many workshops domestically and abroad and is continually helping to foster the next generation of artists with his internationally acclaimed Contemporary Ballet Company in its 20th season, " Complexions" where he is Co Founder/Co Artistic Director with Master Choreographer Dwight Rhoden.