Choreographer Desmond Richardson and his Complexions Contemporary Ballet will be YoungArts first resident dance company, the National YoungArts Foundation has announced. Richardson, a 1986 YoungArts winner and celebrated dancer who has taught frequently at the group’s annual YoungArts week, and his troupe will be in Miami Oct. 25-Nov. 8. Working at the JewelBox on the YoungArts campus in downtown Miami, which has been renovated to include new dance studios, they’ll prepare a new piece by choreographer Dwight Rhoden. The piece will have its premiere during Complexions’ season at New York’s Joyce Theater Nov. 17-29, but Miami audiences will get a preview in an Outside the Box performance on the YoungArts plaza on Nov. 7.
This is YoungArts’ second artist residency program, following one for visual artists launched in June 2014. They are part of the foundation’s efforts to expand beyond its trademark programs for teenage artists in Miami, New York and Los Angeles, with master classes, scholarships and awards. The Complexions visit is sponsored by a grant from ArtPlace America, a national partnership among the federal government, foundations and financial institutions, which aims to integrate the arts with community development.
“As YoungArts continues to identify and support young artists across the country, we are also expanding our programs to assist them throughout their careers,” says Lisa Leone, vice president of artistic programs. “This residency is just one example of how we are addressing the needs of artists across generations.”
The multi-talented Richardson’s many credits include stints with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and American Ballet Theater, working as a choreographer and guest performer on So You Think You Can Dance, and performing with pop artists including Michael Jackson, Prince, Aretha Franklin and Madonna. He and Rhoden co-founded Complexions in 1994.
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“I am incredibly honored that Complexions … has been given this vital opportunity,” says Richardson. “What I am most looking forward to … is sharing with Complexions the supportive environment of art and exchange that YoungArts fosters.”