Class: Ballet, Complexions Technique Workshop
Desmond Richardson Co-Founder, Artistic Director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Madison's Who’s Who, and Master teacher in Contemporary Ballet (Queens, NY)
Hailed by The New York Times as one of the great modern dancers of his time, Desmond Richardson is a multi-talented artist who has mastered a wide range of classical, modern and contemporary dance genres. Praised for his powerful dancing and singular performance quality, Richardson has been the hallmark performer who has shaped the essence of the Complexions style for over a decade. The Queens, New York native's immense talent was first recognized when, as a student at New York's High School for the Performing Arts, he received merit scholarships from The Ailey School, where he studied from 1983-1986, and the International Academie des Tanz in Koln, Germany, which he attended in 1984-1985. He is also a recipient of a 1986 Presidential Scholar Award for the Arts and a member of the Madison Who's Who worldwide professionals network.
In 1987 Richardson joined Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, where he remained as a principal dancer for seven years. After leaving the Ailey company, he traveled to Germany to perform with Ballet Frankfurt. Since that time, Richardson has been a guest artist with renowned dance companies around the world, including the Swedish Opera Ballet, the Washington Ballet, Teatro al la Scala and the San Francisco Ballet. In 1997 he joined American Ballet Theatre as one of only 12 principal male artists, attracting considerable attention from fans and critics alike for his interpretations of the classical repertoire. When he danced the lead role in the company's world premiere of Othello, The New York Times described him as one of the most majestic dancers ever to tread the [Metropolitan Opera House] stage.
In 1998, Richardson joined the original cast of the Broadway musical Fosse, for which he received a 1999 Tony Award nomination. His made his singing debut performing the songs of pop music icons Burt Bacharach and Hal David in the Broadway musical The Look of Love and also starred in the critically-acclaimed Movin' Out. He had a principal role in Debbie Allen's dance/theater presentation, Soul Possessed, which premiered at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 1999.
Working in television, film and video in the United States and abroad, Richardson has performed with such musical artists as Michael Jackson, Prince, Aretha Franklin and Madonna. He made his on-screen singing debut in Charles Randolph Wright's 2005 film Preaching to the Choir and is featured in Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niemi's film One Last Dance as well as the Oscar-winning movie adaptation of Chicago. Richardson appeared in Julie Taymor's film Across the Universe and also performed the lead role of Beowulf in her Grendel at the LA Opera and The New York State Theater. Richardson is a sought-after master teacher working nationally and internationally. Among his many honors are The Ailey School's 2006 Apex Award and the prestigious 2007 Dance Magazine Award. Recently, he partnered Diana Vishneva in her one-woman show Beauty in Motion at New York City Center, at the Orange County Performing Arts Center and in Moscow, Russia. In May 2008 he was one of two dancers invited by the President of the United States to perform at the 60th Presidential Conference in Israel. Richardson has appeared on the Fox television hit, So You Think You Can Dance, for which he choreographed duets with Dwight Rhoden and received many accolades from Nigel Lythgoe, the show's producer.