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

Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Tatiana Melendez Proves There's No One Way to Have a Ballet Career

This is Pointe's Fall 2020 cover story. Click here to purchase this issue.

Talk to anyone about rising contemporary ballerina Tatiana Melendez, and one word is bound to come up repeatedly: "Fierce." And fair enough, that's a perfectly apt way to describe the 20-year-old's stage presence, her technical prowess and her determination to succeed. But don't make the mistake of assuming that fierceness is Melendez's only (or even her most noteworthy) quality. At the core of her dancing is a beautiful versatility. She's just as much at ease when etching pure classical lines as she is when boldly throwing herself off-balance.

"Selfish choreographer that I am, I want Tatiana to stay with Complexions for all time," says her boss Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director and resident choreographer. "She has a theatricality about her: When the music comes on, she gets swept away." Not too shabby for someone who thought just a few years ago that maybe ballet wasn't for her.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet

2020 Stars of the Corps: The Joffrey Ballet's Dara Holmes

A seasoned dancer, Dara Holmes' career with The Joffrey Ballet has consisted of a lot of heavy lifting in the ensemble. "As a new company member, I was onstage all the time," says Holmes, 28. "The older you get, the more you start to appreciate your body and want to preserve it. If I want to keep dancing and do bigger roles, I need to be healthy."

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Jeremy Kyle, Courtesy Laubacher

My First Month as a Professional Dancer in the Age of COVID-19

I moved to Eugene, Oregon, in August, brimming with nerves and excitement to launch my career as an aspirant with Eugene Ballet. After months of quarantining at home in Pittsburgh because of the coronavirus lockdown, transitioning to my new life on the West Coast marked a rapid shift. But in time, it granted me newfound feelings of security. For starters, the ritual of filling up my water bottle, packing my shoes and leotard, putting up my hair and walking into the studio reintroduced a much needed flow of normalcy into my life.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks