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Arts returning to Detroit after COVID hiatus with ballet at the Music Hall's new outdoor ampitheater

Posted at 11:25 PM, Jul 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-30 23:25:57-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Now that some COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted the arts are returning to Detroit in a big way.

This week Complexions Contemporary Ballet Company returned to the heart of downtown to offer dance classes to students from all over metro Detroit and the nation.

Many are taking classes at the Detroit Music Hall's new open-air venue located right next to the building.

Although based in New York this annual tradition has been going on for nearly three decades in the Motor City.

The music is inspirational, the ballet movements are beautiful, powerful, and contemporary.

“I love ballet, I love ABT but to me, it's the most beautiful form of contemporary ballet that I've ever seen,” says Armani Beedo.

Welcome to the stage where Complexions Contemporary Ballet Company comes alive to the music of today's hip hop artists and beyond from Kendrick Lamar to Drake.

“We tour all over the world. Complexions has been just about everywhere: Europe, Asia, Australia, and United States.”

This is the brainchild of two men with roots in the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, and for 17 years they've been coming to the heart of Detroit to share their love of dance with young aspiring students.

“All of our dancers within the company and the students that we train, we stress a strong classical foundation yet there's a freedom in the movement.”

This is their summer dance program at the Music Hall and right next to the building is a brand new outdoor amphitheater.

“This is a brand new venue. It really came from the COVID times and trying to keep the arts alive.”

Most of these student dancers have been taking classes by way of Zoom and, right now, with the Delta Variant looming, masks are still a requirement.

“What's been the hardest part?”

“Definitely the masks and even though it's still really cool and I love it.”

The choreography is nothing like you've seen before.

“There's truly nothing else like it, it's so amazing to have such amazing - seriously the best in the country come here,” says Kali Hightower.

And, one better, there's a message behind each piece of choreography Complexions Company dancers perform. It's meant to leave the audience inspired and awakened by the message.

“We talk about everything from gun violence to racial equity, LGBTQIS rights,” says Dwight Rhoden, the Founder, and Co-Artistic Director Complexions Contemporary Ballet.

Every dance is linked to the headlines we've been dealing with daily in society. And this Saturday Detroiters are invited to see an 8 pm performance of "Woke" at the Music Hall.

“We can seat 1,000 people.”

Meg Paul is the Academy Director for Complexions.

“Nothing more exciting than seeing ballet in the garden outside with all the city sounds,” she says.

And the kids are excited too, not only to be in the heart of downtown taking classes, they will get a chance to be the opening act for the Complexions Company.

“The Music Hall in Detroit is gorgeous stunning truly historic and to be able to dance here is an opportunity of a lifetime,” says Hightower.

Weather permitting the Music Hall will present Complexions Contemporary Ballet performing 'Woke' in its brand-new outdoor amphitheater.

It will start promptly at 8 pm. Tickets are available at the Music Hall box office.