Last week, members of Complexions Contemporary Ballet arrived in Louisville for a public performance at the Brown Theatre on Friday, October 13, and to engage with the community through a number of residency activities. Over the course of two days, the company interacted with roughly 800 participants and patrons between their performance, four masterclasses, and a post-performance Q&A.
On Thursday, October 12, company member and instructor, Jillian Davis, and company member and apprentice, Erin Brothers, worked with ten members of the ArtsReach Dance Ensemble in a two-hour class in the Kentucky Center’s Todd Hall on Thursday evening. The ArtsReach Dance Ensemble is a group of Louisville middle and high school age dancers who study with contemporary dance instructor Portia White and hip hop dance instructor Marcellus Love. The workshop provided an opportunity for the students to build upon what they learn in their weekly classes, and get a glimpse into how a professional dance company conducts a class and learns new pieces. Beginning with a yoga-inspired warm-up, the class then went on to review ballet technique, learn specific movements, and in the end combined those elements and learned a section of a piece from the company’s performance!
On Friday morning October 13, company members Jillian Davis, Doug Baum, and Addison Ector, visited the Youth Performing Arts School (YPAS) to work with sophomore, junior and senior dancers. The YPAS Dance Department’s primary goals are career training and collegiate preparation for the serious dance student. YPAS believes that dance is a valid tool for developing well-rounded students and citizens. Similar to the class the previous evening, members of the company led students from one of the three grade levels, respectively, in warm-up, technique, movement and learning repertoire from the company’s show. They also had the chance to talk with the company members about their own career development, best practices, and taking the next steps after high school.
Complexions performed two pieces choreographed by co-founder Dwight Rhoden for the public at the historic Brown Theatre on Friday evening - Ballad Unto and Stardust, a tribute to David Bowie.
Following their stellar performance on Friday evening, with the participants of the master classes in the audience, company manager JaeMan Joo and dancers Jillian Davis and Addison Ector provided a post-performance Q&A for any of the patrons who would like to stay and discuss the performance more. The conversations, moderated by Vice President of Programming Dan Forte, ranged from exploring the background of the dancers, how the company auditions dancers, and how they create work and tour pieces. This conversation allowed dance patrons to more deeply engage with the company and added an additional layer onto the performance experience. In addition, The Kentucky Center conducted a survey of the audience members and received roughly 100 responses, the majority of which said this performance would positively influence their desire to attend another dance performance.
The Complexions Contemporary Ballet visit to Louisville may have been very quick, but given the company and The Kentucky Center’s commitment to community engagement, their time here will have lasting impact on those they interacted with. We loved having them here and look forward to administering similar engagement and artistic development opportunities for our community with Urban Bush Women and Jessica Lang Dance later this season.