A member of SDC, Desmond was Raised in Laurelton, Queens NY and began his formal dance training at the High School Of The Performing Arts known now as Laguardia High School of Art and the Performing Arts, The Alvin Ailey School and The Sommer Academie des tanz Köln, Germany. Desmond was the first African American principal dancer of American Ballet Theatre and is Co-Artistic Director with master choreographer Dwight Rhoden of the internationally acclaimed Complexions Contemporary Ballet, now celebrating its 26th year. He received a Tony Award nomination for his role in the Broadway original cast of “Fosse,” played the principal character of Tony in Twyla Tharp’s Broadway production “Movin Out,” worked in productions at Encores, made his Broadway singing debut in the Burt Bacharach/Hal David-Ann Reinking/Scott Ellis production of “The Look Of Love” in collaboration with Manhattan Theater Club and was a standout in recent Tony Award winning “After Midnight” on Broadway. He graced the covers of Dance Magazine , Dance Spirit and Dance Teacher Magazine.
With his technical virtuosity and statuesque expressive demeanor, NY Times has hailed him as among the greatest dancers of his time. Lara Hartley poetically described him on Ballet Magazine website as “Moving sculpture, a body that is art, passing through time and space with power and grace – all parts connected, never stopping but heart stopping in beauty.”
Richardson has been a principal dancer and an invited guest with many of the most prestigious companies in the world such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Martha Graham, José Lìmon, The Frankfurt Ballet, The Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Swedish Opera Ballet, Mariinsky Theatre, Teatro al La Scala, The Washington Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and more. He has performed on the most important stages in the world such as The Metropolitan Opera, The Kennedy Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Teatro al la Scala, Paris Opera, The Bolshoi Theatre, Mariinsky Theatre St. Petersburg, Teatro Massimo and the Kremlin Theatre.
Richardson is the recipient of numerous awards for excellence in dance such as The Dance Magazine Award, Capezio Award, Ailey Apex Award, LA Ovation Award, Bessie Award, The YoungArts Alumni Award, and a 1986 YoungArts Finalist & Presidential Scholar in the Arts. He was invited to Israel to dance with Israeli dance icon Ido Tadmor, pianist Daniel Gortler and vocalist Adi Cohen for the 61st Israeli Presidential Conference in Jerusalem.
He has appeared as a celebrity guest performer and choreographer on hit TV shows, films, videos and stage productions such as The American Music Awards, The Oscars, Italy’s AMICI Maria De Filippi , America, Australia and Israel’s “So You Think You Can Dance,” original cast member in Debbie Allen’s musical “Soul Possessed,” Julie Taymor’s opera “Grendel” as principal character Beowulf, Teatro al la Scala production of “Moise e Pharoné” with Roberto Bolle and conductor Maestro Riccardo Muti as well as with Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna, Elton John, Aretha Franklin and many others. Films such as the Oscar winning “Chicago,” Julie Taymor’s “Across The Universe,” Patrick Swayze/Lisa Niemi’s “One Last Dance,” Charles Randolph Wright’s (Tony Award Nominee /director MOTOWN) “Preaching to the Choir” and “Fall To Rise.” Richardson was a featured performer on the PBS special “Jazz and the Philharmonic” with a noted impromptu improv with vocal master Mr. Bobby Mcferrin.
He choreographed and was co-creative director on the Sybille Szaggers Redford & Robert Redford production of “Way of the Rain” at the Sundance Film Festival with notable musicians Will Calhoun, Chuck Palmer, Dave Eggar and the group OAR.
Richardson continues to give back as a Master Teacher with the All Stars Project NY, YoungArts Miami, Jacobs Pillow, United Way, on dance conventions -NYCDA, ASH , Nex-Us and many others.
His video collaboration with the trumpet master, Grammy Award winner, Terrance Blanchard Magnetic shot by Nitin Vadukul was viewed with critical praise. Grammy Award winner Jill Scott’s video Back Together featuring dancers from his company Complexions with acclaimed director Alan Ferguson; part of the creative movement team under director Mr. Stephen Galloway (collective Shift) for fashion icon Tom Ford and legendary bassist Nile Rodgers’, creative movement consult on fashion campaigns, ID Magazine, Jimmy Choo , Banana Republic and more.
Mr. Richardson enjoys teaching immensely as a guest professor in various dance programs at such prestigious schools such as USC, Harvard, Julliard, SMU,Marymount and Skidmore University. Richardson recently was invited to dance and speak for Ted Talks in Palo Alto and is featured as the character Sammy in the recent featured film sequel “HighStrungFreeDance.” Richardson is the recipient of the US Presidential Honors Roosevelt “ Rosey” Thompson Award and a recent recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from The University of North Carolina School Of The Arts for Excellence in Fine Arts and currently working on the Broadway bound Steve Aoki’s Mozart with Dwight Rhoden and Ferly Prado.
Dr. Dwight Rhoden
Dwight Rhoden (Founding Artistic Director/Principal Choreographer) Of Complexions Contemporary Ballet, now celebrating its 26th Anniversary, has established a remarkably wide-ranging career, earning distinction from The New York Times as “one of the most sought out choreographers of the day.”
A native of Dayton Ohio, Rhoden began dancing at age 17. Rhoden has performed with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Les Ballet Jazz De Montreal and as a principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In 1994, Rhoden and Desmond Richardson founded Complexions Contemporary Ballet. They have brought their unique brand of contemporary dance to the world for over two decades. Under Rhoden & Richardson’s direction, Complexions has become a dance institution high in demand, as a center for innovation and cutting edge programming. Rhoden’s choreography has been the lynchpin of the development of Complexions repertory. “Musicality, innovation, purpose, consistency, a brilliant use of stage space and the ability to tell a story—all these qualities make [Rhoden] one of today’s elect choreographers” (Los Angeles Times).
Since 1994, Rhoden has created over 90 ballets for Complexions, as well as for numerous other companies, including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet Arizona Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, BalletMet, Dance Theater of Harlem, Colorado Ballet, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Joffrey Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theater, Pennsylvania Ballet, PHILADANCO!, Mariinsky Ballet, Minneapolis Dance Theater, Phoenix Dance Company, Sacramento Ballet, Oakland Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, The Washington Ballet, and Zenon Dance Company, among others.
Rhoden has also directed and choreographed performances for shows across a range of media, including “So You Think You Can Dance,” E! Entertainment’s Tribute to Style, Amici( Italy) and Cirque Du Soleil’s “Zumanity,” and he appeared in the feature film “One Last Dance,” ( Patrick Swayze / Lisa Niemi.) He has collaborated with a number of celebrated artists including Prince, Lenny Kravitz, Kelly Clarkson, ELEW, David Rozenblatt, Nicholas Payton, The Drifters, Paul Simon, Billy Strayhorn, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, U2, The Turtle Creek Chorus, and Patrick Swayze. Rhoden is a recipient of various honors and awards including The New York Foundation for the Arts Award, The Choo San Goh Award for Choreography, and The Ailey School’s Apex Award. Rhoden received an honorary doctorate degree from the Boston Conservatory in recognition of his extensive contributions to the field of dance. In the spring of 2018, Rhoden premiered a new work with San Francisco Ballet for Unbound: A Festival of New Works. 2019/2020 marks Complexions 26th anniversary season.
Rhoden is a master teacher and continues to give back through countless Master Workshops nationally and internationally and is a member of SDC.