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

7 Eco-Friendly Choices Dancers Can Make to Green Up Their Lifestyles

Ballet dancers are known for their empathy and willingness to improve, so it is no surprise that many are educating themselves about the environment and incorporating sustainable habits into their lives. "I recently read that there are more microplastics in our oceans than there are stars in our galaxy. That really hit me," says American Ballet Theatre corps member Scout Forsythe, who has been making an effort to be more environmentally conscious.

Although no one can fix the climate crisis on their own, we can make small, everyday changes to help decrease waste, consumption and emissions. Here are some suggestions for dancers looking to do their part in helping our planet.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Left to right: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Daphne Lee, Amanda Smith, Lindsey Donnell and Alexandra Hutchinson in a scene from Dancing Through Harlem. Derek Brockington, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dancers Share Their Key Takeaways After a Year of Dancing on Film

Creating dances specifically for film has become one of the most effective ways that ballet companies have connected with audiences and kept dancers employed during the pandemic. Around the world, dance organizations are finding opportunities through digital seasons, whether conceiving cinematic, site-specific pieces or filming works within a traditional theater. And while there is a consistent sentiment that nothing will ever substitute the thrill of a live show, dancers are embracing this new way of performing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Alexandra McMaster

Start Your Dance Day With This Delicious Berry Breakfast Crisp Recipe

When it comes to breakfast, I want it to be easy and convenient but still taste delicious. My Berry Breakfast Crisp is just that. You can bake the crisp on the weekend as meal prep, then enjoy it throughout the week cold or warmed in the microwave. It freezes well, too!

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks