Complexions Turns 20

Mayeux in the studio. Photo by Ani Collier, Courtesy Sin Gogolak.


For the last two decades, Complexions Contemporary Ballet has shown an exciting and edgy side of ballet. This continues into their 20th-anniversary season (running now through Nov. 30 at The Joyce in NYC) with a program including a mix of company classics, as well as two world premieres by Dwight Rhoden and a work by American Ballet Theatre's Marcelo Gomes. For Pointe's bi-weekly newsletter, we spoke with company member Ashley Mayeux as she prepped for the ambitious season.

Dwight Rhoden's Head Space is one of the world premieres this season. How would you describe it?
It is chaotic at moments, but it's also very soft at times. Complexions usually projects to the audience, but in this ballet, Dwight wanted us to be more introverted because we're trying to represent something that's inside of your thoughts.

Certain nights you're performing Head SpaceHissy Fits andInnervisions. What advice would you have for dancers about getting through a long program like that?

You need a lot of focus and a lot of rest, and smart dancing. We have rehearsal all day before the show. Usually they would like us to do everything full-out, but we have to be able to deliver a great show for the audience that night. Most of the time, we try to practice the hardest things we need to first and then do a smart mark-through in tech rehearsals. 

Do you have any tricks that help you get through a long performance?
Well, they have lots of candy for us backstage just in case your energy level gets low. But usually I just like to keep going. Sometimes it's hard to do one piece in the beginning and then not do a second act and then try to get back into it. So it's actually good that I'm doing three straight acts. 

How have you seen yourself grow since joining Complexions in 2012?
I've made a 180-degree change. Dwight and I have had this conversation. When I first got there, I struggled so much to get the style. But with time and getting to know what Dwight wants, getting to know the company and finding friends that could help me through, I really changed the way I work. Now I'm not so worried about what people are thinking because everyone in the company is supportive of my choices and can help me make the right choices about what I want to say onstage.

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