Complexions Contemporary Ballet

Alvin Ailey alums finally make Bay Area debut

PREVIEW It's about time. This Saturday, Complexions Contemporary Ballet is finally making its Bay Area debut. The company is 14 and travels all over the globe, from Israel to New Zealand. Founded by former members of Albert Ailey American Dance Theater Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, the company started out small, primarily with duets Rhoden created for himself and Richardson. In the Bay Area, Rhoden's work has been seen most often during the Ailey company's yearly gigs. In 2002, the Oakland Ballet (then under the leadership of Karen Brown) debuted his Glory Fugue to much acclaim. Meanwhile, Richardson, a principal guest artist of American Ballet Theater, is mesmerizing in whatever capacity he chooses to perform. In the Bay Area he is best known for the title role in San Francisco Ballet's filming of Othello. Today, Rhoden is a hot item in musical theater, film, video, and jazz, as well as ballet and modern dance. Complexions's 20-odd dancers continue to focus most of their endeavors on the prolific Rhoden's choreography, which favors speed, angularity, and the kind of power attacks even a William Forsythe could admire. As performed by Complexions, the pieces showcase forceful dancers who draw their perspectives from a wide variety of backgrounds — both artistic and cultural. The program for this one-night stand includes a solo by Ailey dancer Abdur-Rahim Jackson; the rest of the program is entirely by Rhoden and features the recent Dear Frederic (2007), an homage to Chopin, and honors Marvin Gaye with the closer Chapters Suite (2007), which Rhoden peopled with a fabulously eclectic mix of street characters.

COMPLEXIONS CONTEMPORARY BALLET Sat/5, 8 p.m., $25–$40. Marin Veterans' Memorial Auditorium, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. (415) 499-6800,

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