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Campus stage ready for ballet’s world premiere

Complexions Contemporary Ballet will perform next week at the Anderson Center.

The Anderson Center will open its season next week with the world premiere of a contemporary ballet.

Complexions will perform Cat, loosely based on Tennessee Williams’ play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28. The piece features the three main characters from the story with a ballet twist.

“Dance is the hottest item we put on the stage,” said Floyd Herzog, producer/director of the Anderson Center. “It sells out more quickly than any other genre of presentation. We’re eager to bring contemporary ballet to our audience, which so enjoys classical ballet. It truly complements the dance offerings in the area.”

Herzog first received a press kit from Complexions about a year and a half ago. He said he was struck by the rave reviews the New York-based company had received, as well as by the brilliant careers of its two artistic directors, Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson.

After Herzog attended a performance in New Jersey and found the group “mesmerizing,” he approached the dancers with hopes of them creating a new work for the Anderson Center.

“I thought it would be prestigious to have not just an American premiere, like others we’ve had, but a world premiere on this stage,” Herzog said. “As they say,
you don’t ask, you don’t get. They were
highly receptive, so receptive that the company asked me for a vision for an exciting new work.”

The discussions that ensued resulted in the choice of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof as the ballet’s inspiration, in part because of the story’s wonderful pas de deux possibilities and because it had not previously been adapted as a ballet or opera.

Cat, which includes mature themes, will be featured as part of a mixed repertory for the Binghamton performance and will then be added to the company’s permanent repertory and performed worldwide.

Rhoden, a sought-after choreographer, founded Complexions in 1994 with Richardson, a dancer who has worked in television, film and video as well as on Broadway. The multiethnic company is known for thought-provoking works inspired by social and political conditions.

“The ethnicities of the artists mirror those of the Binghamton University student body,” Herzog said. “To present it here, on this multicultural campus, will be especially meaningful. There will be an extra dimension of the relationship between audience and artist.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08