Ready to Rock: Complexions Contemporary Ballet

Photo by Rachel Neville, Courtesy GOGO Public Relations and Marketing.

When most people think of ballet, they also think of classical music. But for Complexions Contemporary Ballet's latest premiere by Dwight Rhoden, titled Strum, the dancers will be pirouetting to the heavy-metal songs of Metallica. Pointe spoke with company member YoungSil Kim before the piece debuts in Philadelphia Oct. 14-18.

What's it like mixing contemporary ballet with heavy metal?
When I heard we were doing this, I thought, How is Dwight is going to create this? He tried to choreograph on pointe for the first week before he decided to use flat shoes. It's still a contemporary work with classical ballet lines, but it's very emotional. For instance, one song is called "Bleeding Me," and it's about being in pain and feeling something from the heart.

What's most challenging about the piece?
Stamina. We have to use the whole body at 100 percent. We go for 30 minutes straight, and there are so many sections. At this point, it's hard to find when I can rest and how to catch my breath. And we're working on how we can show the audience even more emotion.

This is your third season with Complexions. How have you grown since joining?
At first, when I was performing, I'd try to dance like I did in rehearsal. But after working with Dwight, I learned that I have to do something new every time. Now I try to find the edges and go for it.
For even more interviews, tips, audition info and giveaways, sign up for our FREE e-newsletter.

Latest Posts


Getty Images

How Can I Stay Motivated While Training at Home?

Ethan Ahuero was having a good year: he was in his first season dancing with Kansas City Ballet II and had been presented with the opportunity to choreograph on the second company. "The day before we shut down I had a rehearsal, and I was so happy," Ahuero says. "The piece was coming together and this was the first time I felt really proud of my creative process."

Suddenly, the coronavirus pandemic brought everything to a halt. With the company's season cut short and the studios closed, Ahuero found himself attempting to continue dancing from home, with his choreography project put on hold. Like many other dancers around the world, Ahuero is dealing with disappointment while struggling to stay motivated.

Keeping up with daily ballet classes may feel difficult right now; inspiration can seem hard to come by when you're following along on Zoom and short on space at home. Below are a few simple tips for finding new ways to stay motivated.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Courtesy Goh Academy

Pro-Pro Priorities: The Top Skills to Focus on During Your Final Training Years

As told to Rachel Caldwell

Finding the right pre-professional training program can be daunting. Then once you're there, what should you focus on in order to succeed? To shine some light on the topic, we talked to five leading teachers and directors who have seen scores of students move on to flourishing ballet careers. Here's what they suggested for young dancers on the pre-professional track.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Tulsa Ballet in Ma Cong's Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music. Kate Luber Photography, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Updated: Mark Your Calendars for These Online Ballet Performances

Updated on 5/21/2020

Since COVID-19 has forced ballet companies around the world to cancel performances—and even the remainder of their seasons—many are keeping their audiences engaged by streaming or posting pre-recorded performances onto their websites or social media channels. To help keep you inspired during these challenging times, we've put together a list of upcoming streaming events and digital performances.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks