2019 CDSI Faculty

DWIGHT RHODEN

(Founding Artistic Director/ Principal Choreographer)

DWIGHT RHODEN (Founding Artistic Director/ Principal Choreographer) 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, Rhoden began dancing at age 17. Rhoden has performed with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Les Ballet Jazz De Montreal and as a principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In 1994, Rhoden and Desmond Richardson founded Complexions Contemporary Ballet. They have brought their unique brand of contemporary dance to the world for over two decades. Under Rhoden's direction, Complexions has become a dance institution high in demand, as a center of innovation and cutting edge programming. Rhoden's choreography has been the lynchpin of the development of Complexions repertory. "Musicality, innovation, purpose, consistency, a brilliant use of stage space and the ability to tell a story—all these qualities make [Rhoden] one of today's elect choreographers" (Los Angeles Times). Since 1994, Rhoden has created over 80 ballets for Complexions, as well as for numerous other companies, including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Arizona Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, BalletMet, Dance Theater of Harlem, Colorado Ballet, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Joffrey Ballet, Miami City Ballet, New York City Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theater, Pennsylvania Ballet, Philadanco, Mariinsky Ballet, Minneapolis Dance Theater, Phoenix Dance Company, Sacramento Ballet, Oakland Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, The Washington Ballet and Zenon Dance Company, among others. Rhoden has also directed and choreographed performances for shows across a range of media, including So You Think You Can Dance, E! Entertainment's Tribute to Style, Amici, and Cirque Du Soleil's Zumanity, and he appeared in the feature lm One Last Dance. He has also collaborated with a number of celebrated artists, including 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 is a 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. Rhoden recently received an honorary doctorate degree from the Boston Conservatory in recognition of his extensive contributions to the field of dance. In the spring of 2018, Rhoden premiered a new work with San Francisco Ballet for Unbound: A Festival of New Works. 2018/2019 will mark Complexions 25th anniversary season. Rhoden will premiere his new work entitled WOKE (A Call to Action) at the Joyce Theater in February 2019.

DESMOND RICHARDSON

(Co-Founder, Co-Artistic
Director)

 

Desmond Richardson: Raised in Laurelton, Queens NY began his formal dance training at the High School Of The Performing Arts known now as LaGuardia High School of Art and the Performing Arts , The Alvin Ailey School and The Sommer Academie des tanz Köln , Germany was the first African American principal dancer of American Ballet Theatre and is Co-Artistic Director with master choreographer Dwight Rhoden of the internationally acclaimed Complexions Contemporary Ballet, now celebrating its 25th year. He received a Tony Award nomination for his role in the Broadway original cast of Fosse, played the principal character of Tony in Twyla Tharp's Broadway production Movin Out, made his Broadway singing debut in the Burt Bacharach/Hal David-Ann Reinking/Scott Ellis production The Look Of Love and was a standout in recent Tony Award-winning After Midnight. He graced the January 2016 cover of Dance Teacher Magazine. With his technical virtuosity and statuesque expressive demeanor, the NY Times has hailed him as among the greatest dancers of his time. Lara Hartley poetically described him on Ballet Magazine website as "Moving sculpture, a body that is art, passing through time and space with power and grace - all parts connected, never stopping but heart-stopping in beauty." Richardson has been a principal dancer and an invited guest with many of the most prestigious companies in the world such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Martha Graham, José Lìmon, The Frankfurt Ballet, The Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Swedish Opera Ballet, Mariinsky Theatre, Teatro a La Scala, The Washington Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and more. He has performed on the most important stages in the world such as The Metropolitan Opera, The Kennedy Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Teatro al la Scala, Paris Opera, The Bolshoi Theatre, Mariinsky Theatre St. Petersburg, Teatro Massimo, and the Kremlin Theatre. Richardson is the recipient of numerous awards for excellence in dance such as The Dance Magazine Award, Capezio Award, Ailey Apex Award, LA Ovation Award, Bessie Award, The YoungArts Alumni Award, and a 1986 YoungArts Finalist & Presidential Scholar in the Arts. He was invited to Israel to dance with Israeli dance icon Ido Tadmor, pianist Daniel Gortler and vocalist Adi Cohen for the 61st Israeli Presidential Conference in Jerusalem. He has appeared as a celebrity guest performer and choreographer on hit TV shows, films, videos and stage productions such as The American Music Awards, The Oscars, Italy's AMICI Maria De Filippi , America, Australia and Israel's So You Think You Can Dance, original cast member in Debbie Allen's musical Soul Possessed, Julie Taymor's opera Grendel as principal character Beowulf, Teatro al la Scala production of Moise e Pharoné with Roberto Bolle and conductor Maestro Riccardo Muti as well as with Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna, Elton John, Aretha Franklin and many others. Films such as the Oscar-winning Chicago, Julie Taymor's Across The Universe, Patrick Swayze/Lisa Niemi's One Last Dance, Charles Randolph Wright's (Tony Award Nominee /director MOTOWN) Preaching to the Choir and Fall To Rise. Richardson was a featured performer on the PBS special Jazz and the Philharmonic with a noted impromptu improv with vocal master Mr. Bobby Mcferrin. He choreographed and was a co-creative director on the Sybille Szaggers Redford & Robert Redford production of Way of the Rain at the Sundance Film Festival with notable musicians Will Calhoun, Chuck Palmer, Dave Eggar and the group OAR. Richardson continues to give back as a Master Teacher with the All Stars Project NY, YoungArts Miami, Jacobs Pillow, United Way, on dance conventions -NYCDA, ASH, Nex-Us, and many others. His video collaboration with the trumpet master, Grammy Award winner, Terrance Blanchard Magnetic shot by Nitin Vadukul was viewed with critical praise. Grammy Award winner Jill Scott's video Back Together featuring dancers from his company Complexions with acclaimed director Alan Ferguson; part of the creative movement team under director Mr. Stephen Galloway (collective Shift) for fashion icon Tom Ford and legendary bassist Nile Rodgers', creative movement consult on fashion campaigns, ID Magazine, Jimmy Choo , Banana Republic and more. Mr. Richardson enjoys teaching immensely as a guest professor in various dance programs at such prestigious schools such as USC, Harvard, Julliard, SMU, Marymount and Skidmore University. Richardson recently was invited to dance and speak for TEDTALKS IN PALO ALTO and will be featured as the character Sammy in the upcoming feature film sequel "HighStrungFreeDance". Richardson is currently the recipient of the US Presidential Honors Roosevelt "Rosey" Thompson Award. DESMOND RICHARDSON President-Founder Artistic Director Complexions Productions INC. Complexions Foundation

JAE MAN JOO

(Associate Artistic Director, Ballet Master, Resident Choreographer)

JAE MAN JOO was born and raised in Kwang Ju, Korea and graduated Dankook University. He is the Associate Artistic Director, Ballet Master, Resident Choreographer. He worked with the company for post 19 Seasons. In 1996, he received the Best Individual Artist award From The Bagnolet International Dance Festival in Paris, France. In 2009, he received The Princess Grace Award for excellence in choreography in America. He was a Principal Dancer at Ballet Hispanico and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Also has Worked Wwith Shen Wei, Zvi Gotheiner, lgal Perry, Jessica Lang. He created many ballets for Complexions and all works premiered at one and only the Joyce Theater, New York City. "Tears" (Rachmaninoff) in 2007, "Surface" (Debussy) in 2008, "Atmosphere"(Bach) in 2009, "Flight" (Bach) in 2012 , "Recur"(Richter, Silverstrov) in 2013. "Goodnight" (Arvo Part) in 2017. Jae Man Joo Created work "Beautiful Imperfection" (Nyman) Commissioned By Marymount Manhattan College Dance in 2015. And the same year he created "Into The Light" (Vivaldi) for Alvin Ailey/ Fordham BFA and also performed by Peridance Contemporary dance company NYC. In 2016 he created a New Work "Circular" (Denisov, Handel) for Ailey ll - Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In 2017 Jae Man Joo invited to create a New work for Jacob's Pillow 85th Anniversary season and his new work "Canvas" which world premiered at the prestigious Jacob's Pillow lnside/Out stage.

JILLIAN DAVIS

(Dancer)

JILLIAN DAVIS (Dancer) started dancing at the age of three, in her hometown of Kutztown, PA. With the encouragement of mentors Jerzy Golek, Janie Ross Morgan And Kip Martin, she focused on ballet as a professional career. She studied extensively with — Susan Jaffe and Risa Kaplowitz at Princeton Dance and Theater Studio in Princeton, NJ, and also had the opportunity to study at schools including San Francisco Ballet, School of American Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet and LINES Ballet. During her time in San Francisco and New York City, she explored her interest in choreography. She was a guest choreographer at Missouri Valley College and also Developed Jillian Davis Dance Project. Her piece Tiel was featured at Jennifer Muller's Hatched Series and selected as a finalist at Rider University's Emerging Choreographer's Showcase. She continues to choreograph with small companies Around the country, including Berks Ballet Theatre, where her work was featured in 2016. Davis's most recent project was at Contemporary Ballet Dallas in April 2017, where she choreographed a ballet to Tom Waits' Temptation. Davis joined Complexions Contemporary Ballet as a company member in 2014. She has performed works by Desmond Richardson and William Forsythe and has been part of the creation process for several Dwight Rhoden world premieres, including Headspace, Strum, Gutter Glitter and the David Bowie tribute StarDust. Davis is also a teacher for Complexions Academy's summer intensive and master classes. This will be Davis's fourth season with Complexions Contemporary Ballet.

ADDISON ECTOR

(Dancer)

ADDISON ECTOR (Dancer) Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Ector began dancing at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy at 13 years old. After graduating high school, he was accepted into a three-year program at the Alvin Ailey School in New York City on Alistair Butler, Oprah Winfrey, and Alvin Ailey scholarships. Ector also attended Jacob's Pillow Contemporary Program, performed with Germaul Barnes Viewsic Dance domestically and internationally and has Performed with Company XIV. Ector is featured in The Art of Movement, by NYC Dance Project, Dancers After Dark, By Jordan Matter, and Gap's Fall 2015 Fitness Campaign. This will be Addison's fifth season with Complexions Contemporary Ballet.

SHANNA IRWIN

(Dancer)

SHANNA IRWIN (Dancer) grew up in Landing, NJ, where she began training as a competitive dancer. She trained at the New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble, Under the direction of Nancy Turano. She spent her summers with, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, World Dance Movement Italy and Vancouver's Arts Umbrella. Irwin continued her studies at Marymount Manhattan College, under the direction of Katie Langan, and graduated with a BFA in Dance. Irwin began touring with Complexions during her senior year and has been part of the company since.

CLIFFORD WILLIAMS

(dancer)

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, The Diana Vishneva Project, Ballet San Jose, Israel Ballet , Teatro Dell'Opera Di Roma 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/ Fordham University, Boston Conservatory, Harvard University Marymount University and NYU Tisch School for the Arts. In addition to setting works for Dwight Rhoden, Williams is certified in teaching "Nique" 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 the artist in residence. In 2014 Williams was featured in Debbie Allen's "The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker" as the Title character which aired on BET Network. He is also part of cast 2016 Golden Globe-nominated Starz Network Mini-series "Flesh and Bone". Most recently Mr. Williams performed as a featured principal character "Meyer Wolfsheim" alongside soloists from the Mariinsky Ballet in an international production of The Great Gatsby, Choreographed and Directed by Dwight Rhoden.

DJ SMART

(dancer)

"DJ SMART has been described as one of the most versatile and gifted dancers of his generation, and possibly one of the most brilliant artists in the world. He has rapidly become a highly recognized performer, choreographer, and teacher in all facets of the industry. Hailing from Detroit, he began dancing at the age of 12 and graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. As a graduate with honors, earning a BFA in ballet performance, he was awarded the "Outstanding in All Styles Award" and the prestigious "Stella Moore Prize." He has also received awards such as Got Dance LA Spotlight recipient, Edge Magazine's Person of the Week, "Emerging Artist Award" from Opera Noir, 2006 National ACT-SO dance gold medalist, and 2007 National YoungArts winner in jazz dance. He was also named one of 12 "Hottest Dance Convention Teachers Right Now" by Dance Informa Magazine. 

Some of his credits include: Becky G, Oklahoma!, Millennium Dance Complex, So You Think You Can Dance (US and Ukraine), Disney's Best Friends Whenever, Step Up Revolution Fitness DVD, Koresh Dance Company, Lifetime's Dance Moms, Twenty One Pilots, Stevie B, BEX, Jessie J, The Jacksons, Every Single Step, Americas Got Talent, Latin American Music Awards, Cher, Dancing With The Stars, Billboard Music Awards, Momix Dance Company, and Carbon Dance Theatre. 

DJ Smart has received remarkable reviews for his performances and choreography and has appeared in magazines and newspapers such as Dance Spirit, Dance Teacher, Detroit Free Press, Vogue, Elle, Superstar Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Harper's Bazaar, Huffington Post, SET magazine, EDGE magazine, Philadelphia Inquirer, LA Times, Houston Chronicle, Off Off Off Dance and Baltimore Sun. He has made numerous guest appearances and has toured internationally performing, teaching and choreographing across the USA and in over 20 countries across the world."

KELLY MARSH

(dancer)

KELLY MARSH is a graduate from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts with a BFA in Dance, concentration in Ballet. Mr. Marsh started dance at the age of thirteen. He took his studies further after receiving a full scholarship to the Center of Creative Arts (COCA) under the direction of Lee Nolting, in his hometown of St. Louis, MO and then as a fellowship student to The Ailey School. Accepted into numerous summer intensives such as The Ailey summer intensive, PerryMansfield, Richmond Ballet, ABT's Collegiate Intensive, Dance Theatere of Harlem, Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Cedar Lake 360. Marsh has had the opportunities to perform masterworks by world-renowned choreographers such as William Forsythe, George Balanchine, Merce Cunningham, Eliot Feld, Ethan Stiefel, Susan Jaffee, Darrell Grand Moultire and many more. Mr. Marsh can be seen in music videos as a feature dancer in Jill Scott's "Back Together" and Nile Rodger's "I'll be there". Kelly Marsh was a member of Complexions Contemporary Ballet for four years. He recently can be spotted in a commercial for Shiseido Cosmetics airing in 2019. Mr.Marsh is signed to Clear Talent Group Agency and is thankful for their amazing opportunities and believing in him and his career. 

NATIYA KEZEVADZE

(dancer)

Natiya Kezevadze was born in Tbilisi, the Republic of Georgia, where she began her professional ballet training at V. Chabukiani State Ballet School. At age thirteen, she was afforded the privilege of being accepted to the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet on full scholarship and moved to St. Petersburg, Russia. Ms.Kezevadze graduated under the supervision of a professor T. Udalenkova, receiving a B.F.A. Consequently, she was invited to join Boris Eifman Dance Company. Later, she joined Ballet Classic St. Petersburg Ballet Company as a soloist and in 2004 Natiya moved to NYC to further pursue her performing career. While in NYC, she continued her training with many notable dance masters including Dwight Rhoden, Desmond Richardson, Willy Burman, Milton Myers, Donald Byrd, Nathan Trice, Elisa Monte, Max Stone, Val Suarez, Donald Byrd, and numerous others. As a guest artist, Natiya appeared in New York International Festival's "Icarus", Ballet Builder's "Passing Thru", Eglevsky Ballet "Nutcracker", Rebecca Davis "Antigone", and Nathan Trice "Rituals". In 2005 Natiya joined Forces of Nature Dance Theater Company under the direction of Abdel Salaam where she continues to perform as a guest artist. In 2007 Natiya became a member of Complexions Contemporary Ballet (CCB) and toured extensively performing works by Dwight Rhoden, Desmond Richardson, Igal Perry, and Jae Man Joo.

Today Natiya continues her relationship with CCB as an artist-in-residence performing with the company as well as conducting company classes and rehearsals. Additionally, Natiya has the pleasure of teaching both classical and contemporary ballet and her teaching experience include Complexions Summer and Winter Intensives, CCB Pre-Professional Programs, the Joffrey Experience, and the Joffrey Ballet School, NYU's Tisch, Broadway Dance Center, STEPS on Broadway. In 2018 Natiya joined dance team of faculty members at LIU Brooklyn.

MEG PAUL

 

 

Meg Paul brings a wealth of significant professional experience in ballet and Broadway performance, as well as in teaching at the national level and has worked closely with important dance pioneers and choreographers in the field; from the repertoire and artistic direction of Gerald Arpino and Robert Joffrey, to works by Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, William Forsythe, Dwight Rhoden, and Alonzo King. Her thirty-year career encompasses a wide range of significant national and international experience in performance, choreography, directing, teaching, program development, community engagement, and arts management.

From 1983-1994 she was a principal dancer with the world-renowned Joffrey Ballet, including vast national and international touring credits with the company. For Twyla Tharp's Tony award-winning Broadway musical, Movin' Out, she served as dance captain and lead performer from 2001-2005. Her extensive credentials are of the highest caliber and her awards include The Princess Grace Award, winner of The International Dance Competition of the Americas, and the Copperfoot Award.

Co-founder of World Arts Inc., Ms. Paul's New York City-based performing arts agency celebrated a decade of representing and producing tours for national and international companies including Nacho Duato's Compania Nacional De Danza, Les Ballets De Monte Carlo, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Les Grand Ballets Canadian, Dance Cuba, Les Ballets Africains, The Washington Ballet, and more.

Ms. Paul has choreographed dozens of original dance works at the collegiate level and for professional dance companies. Her piece, seed, made for the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance, was selected for the National American College Dance Association gala performance at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., 2015.

She has developed considerable connections in the Detroit metropolitan dance community and has curated and directed National City Stars of Ballet and Broadway, which engaged hundreds of local performers and pre-professionals to work and perform with ballet and Broadway professionals. For her work on National City Stars of Ballet and Broadway, Meg was honored as a Detroit Renaissance Hero by the Detroit Free Press.

Ms. Paul is ballet master for the Complexions Contemporary Ballet and teaches master classes around the nation for numerous summer intensives. She is curator and director of Detroit Music Hall's annual 313 Choreography Expo; highlighting Detroit's collaborative and creative impact with other major cities, and fostering artistic collaborations, dance education, and community engagement. 313 Choreography Expo is an incubator and career launch pad for many local Detroit artists and companies, and for current dance majors, faculty, and alumni of the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance.

KAREN PRALL

 

Karen Prall is currently dance lecturer at WSU Theatre & Dance department. Director of the African dance company "To Sangana".

Karen Prall trained in Detroit (Dunham Technique & Horton) with Clifford Fears and Penny Godboldo, in New York (ballet, modern, jazz, African) studying at the Alvin Ailey Dance Center, working with Titos Sompa "Tanawa"(Congolese style).

Prall has conducted extensive research on African culture, dance and music styles, in Congo, Brazzaville, Congo, Kinshasa, Accra, Ghana, Monrovia, Liberia, Senegal, Paris, and Hawai'i. Traveling to Suriname (South America), teaching and performing with W.S.U. Company One, traveling to Havana, and Santiago de Cuba 2012-2015, as well as working as an instructor.