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BWW Review: COMPLEXIONS CONTEMPORARY BALLET at The Joyce Holds Up a Mirror to our Ever-Changing World


This production runs from November 16-28th, 2021.

BWW Review: COMPLEXIONS CONTEMPORARY BALLET at The Joyce Holds Up a Mirror to our Ever-Changing World

It's weird and wonderful to be in the theatre again. These days, everything looks different-the way you enter; IDs and vaccine cards in hand, security guards keeping everything in order. But once I stepped into The Joyce Theatre to see Complexions Contemporary Ballet, it all felt perfectly familiar. Fellow art lovers, buzzing about, expressing their excitement and passion all behind masked faces. A compilation of contemporary music flooded our eardrums before the start of the show. Perhaps an unexpected choice at first listen, but as 'Losing My Religion' played, it all made perfect sense to frame what we were about to see.

The world premiere of "Snatched Back from the Edges" opened the program with fury and finesse. A solo male dancer took the stage, musculature carved by a single spotlight. As he moved through the space, more dancers appeared and more spotlights turned on and off. The movement was both staccato and fluid, keeping pace with a haunting 6/8 score. A meditation on the importance of dynamics-hard and soft, light and dark-"Snatched Back from the Edges" explored the quintessential question: What do we as human beings sacrifice and give away? The classic Complexions choreographic patterns were all present-gravity-defying leaps, spiraling penches, dramatic tours en l'air. But they were complicated by the current cultural cacophony of "tearing our kingdom down." Confronting our country's racial and social inequities head on, the company danced with a spellbinding collective chaos that left me awestruck.

"Love Rocks" closed the show. Set to a fiery, multi-song score by Lenny Kravitz, the piece explored all of the intricacies of what love is-what it means to love, and be loved in return. A punk rock escapade, the costumes were campy and fun, and showcased a completely different side to these incredibly talented dancers. There was a lightness in the movement and in their facial expressions that juxtaposed the heavy, very intense choreography. There were minor timing inconsistencies, but in a strange way, the imperfection made it all feel that much more human-and more perfect, in the end.

RUN, don't walk, to see this incredible company of dancers.

Photo Credit: Rachel Neville

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