Desmond Richardson

Ailey Repertory Company (1986-1987)
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Principal (1987-1994)
Frankfurt Ballet (1994-1997)
American Ballet Theatre (1997-?)
Complexions Contemporary Ballet- Co- Founder/ Co- Director


7 Things You Didn't Know about Desmond Richardson - Dance Informa
Photo via Dance Informa

Desmond Richardson was born in 1969 and grew up in Queens, New York. While at a block party at age 10, Richardson discovered dance, later training at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, The Ailey School, and Deutsche Akademie des Tanzes on scholarship. He was awarded the Presidential Scholar Award for the Arts in 1986 before receiving an invitation from Alvin Ailey to join the Ailey Repertory Company (the institution’s junior company at the time). The following year, he joined Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, where he remained until 1994.

He and Dwight Rhoden, choreographer and fellow dancer, established Complexions Contemporary Ballet in 1994 with the mission to “bring unity to the world one dance at a time.” Richardson remains co-artistic director today.

After spending 1994 to 1997 at Frankfurt Ballet under the direction of William Forsythe, Richardson joined American Ballet Theatre, where he quickly rose through the ranks and became the first African American principal with the company. He has also performed as a guest artist with San Francisco Ballet, Teatro alla Scala, Swedish Opera Ballet, and Washington Ballet.

His Broadway credits include Fosse (1999), for which he earned a Tony nomination; First You Dream: A Tribute to Courage (2000); The Look of Love (2003); Movin’ Out (2002), and After Midnight (2013). Richardson has additionally danced on and choreographed for international dance shows including Amici (Italy) and So You Think You Can Dance US, Israel and Australia. Other television and movie credits include the 71st Academy Awards, One Last Dance, Chicago, Across the Universe, and High Strung Free Dance. He has appeared onstage with Madonna, Aretha Franklin, Prince, and Michael Jackson.

Richardson has been awarded a Dance Magazine Award, Capezio Award, Young Arts Alumni Award, and New York Performance Award.


Desmond Richardson, Wikipedia
About Complexions, Complexions Contemporary Ballet
Desmond Richardson, Playbill
Desmond Richardson, USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance
Desmond Richardson, IMDB

Video links:

Yuan Yuan Tan Desmond Richardson Othello
MOVE TV – Desmond Richardson
Othello ballet San Francisco Ballet Desmond Richardson and Yuan Yun [sic] Tan
Desmond Richardson of Complexions Contemporary Ballet – “Imprint/Maya”
Celebrating Desmond Richardson & Complexions Contemporary Ballet
ABTKids Daily | Desmond Richardson and Calvin Royal III on Mentorship
Desmond Richardson – Complexions Ballet Company / Kremlin Gala 2013
Desmond Richardson
Desmond Richardson Discusses Complexions Contemporary Ballet’s 20th Anniversary 
Talking Dance, “Desmond Richardson: Crossing Boundaries”

Social media:

Instagram @desmondrich7

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