DWIGHT RHODEN DESMOND RICHARDSON
Carmen De Lavallade received her early dance training from Lester Horton and Carmelita Maracci. She first appeared in New York with the Lester Horton Dance Theater and subsequently made her Broadway debut with Alvin Ailey in House of Flowers choreographed by Herbert Ross. Ms. De Lavallade’s career as a performer, dancer, actress, director, writer, teacher, educator, choreographer, coach and mentor, was succinctly summed by Duke Ellington who referred to her as one of the most “ravishing artists in the world.” Ms. De Lavallade appeared in a number of films for Twentieth Century Fox including her most successful film “Carmen Jones” (1954), in which she danced with Ailey and Jack Cole.
As a concert dancer she has had ballets created for her by Alvin Ailey, Lester Horton, John Butler, Glen Tetley, Agnes de Mille, Geoffrey Holder, Donald McKayle, Louis Johnson and Tally Beatty. She was a principal dancer with the Metropolitan Opera, a guest artist with American Ballet Theater, and a soloist with the New York City Center Opera.
Ms. Allen began her professional dance career with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater where Mr. Ailey choreographed numerous roles for her, most notably two of his Duke Ellington classics, Night Creatures and The Mooche. Under the aegis of Ailey she was recognized for her interpretive performances of his masterpieces Blues Suite and Revelations. Ms. Allen danced on television in CBS’s Ailey Celebrates Ellington, NBC’s Bill Cosby Salutes Alvin Ailey and PBS’s Great Performance of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. During her years with the Ailey she was also invited with Elisa Monte to dance at Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute, and in the movies The Cotton Club, Angel Heart, The Last Dragon and Beat Street. During this period she also worked with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Ron Brown, Donald McKayle, Eleo Pomare, Donald Byrd, Lar Lubovitch, Ulysses Dove, John Butler, and Jerome Robbins. For a number of years, Judith Jamison choreographed ballets on her after which Ms. Allen assisted in setting the original ballets for numerous companies throughout the world. Ms. Allen also appeared as Bess in the first all dance version of Porgy and Bess at the Kennedy Center for the Gershwin Centennial. While having built an extensive body of work in dance, Ms. Allen has also shared her wealth of knowledge and experience with others through curriculum development, teaching, coaching, and mentoring. She has been Company Teacher at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and The Jamison Project, and has conducted Master Classes at the UCLA Dance Department, the Kansas City Public School System and the Boston Public School System, as well as many other programs all over the world. She has served as Artist-in-Residence of Complexions Contemporary Ballet since its founding by Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson.
Clifford Williams began his dance training at F.H. LaGuardia High School of Art and the Performing Arts. He attended The Ailey School and The School of American Ballet, both on scholarship. He was a first-level recipient of a National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts award in 1998. In 1998, he attended The Juilliard School, where he danced works by many choreographers including Lar Lubovitch, Igal Perry Hans Van Manen, Jose Limon and Mauricio Wainrot. In 2001, he was invited to join Dance Theatre of Harlem, where he danced until 2003.
In 2004, Mr. Williams joined Complexions Contemporary Ballet (New York, NY). He has danced works by Dwight Rhoden, William Forsythe, Nicolo Fonte and Jae Man Joo. Since 2004, Mr. Williams has assisted Director/Choreographer Dwight Rhoden on numerous projects including ballets for North Carolina Dance Theater, Pittsburgh Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and The Diana Vishneva Projec,t as well as for the television show "So You Think You Can Dance." He has also set Dwight Rhoden's works on schools such as The Ailey School and NYU Tisch School for the Arts. In addition to setting works for Dwight Rhoden, Williams is certified in teaching the official Contemporary Ballet technique of Complexions Contemporary Ballet; and continues to be a part of educational outreach for Complexions. In 2008, Mr. Williams left Complexions to dance as a Principal dancer with Compañia Nacional De Danza under the Direction of Nacho Duato. During that time, he danced many principal parts and was featured in creations by Mr. Duato. Mr Williams rejoined Complexions in 2009, where he danced as principal until 2012 before being appointed to artist in residence. Most recently Mr. Williams was featured as the title character in Debbie Allen's " The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker " which airs on the BET network in 2013.