Desmond Richardson defies human limitations with his dynamic power and captivates audiences with his artistic expression. Richardson's extraordinary natural talent was first recognized when, as a student at the Fiorella H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts, he received a merit scholarship from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. In 1987, he began his professional career with the Ailey Company, where he was a principal for seven years. Richardson went on to perform with companies like American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet and Ballet Frankfurt in Germany. And he's more than a ballet phenomenon: He showed his triple-threat skills in the movie musicals Chicago and Across the Universe, and earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor for his work in the Broadway hit Fosse. As if that weren't enough, in 1994 he co-founded Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Today, he continues to perform with Complexions and serves as the company's co-artistic director. —Ashley Rivers
Hey you! Yes you, the young perfectionist! You need to stop sweating the small stuff. Stay positive, because negativity is distracting; ultimately, it will knock you off course. Quit worrying that you're not at the same level as the others and start living in the moment.
Study the basics well, because you will need them if you want to truly speak through movement. Continue to dream of one day gracing the great stages of the world. Follow your passion—you'll find that it will fuel you.
You don't know it yet, but your hard work, your commitment to excellence and your
respect for your art will allow you to soar. So let go and open up to the infinite possibilities the universe has in store for you!
Your Big Self
Top photo by JP Sevillano; bottom photo of Richardson (center front) with teacher Maria Youskevitch (center back) and fellow Ailey School students in a 1980s brochure courtesy The Ailey School Archives
Well, this brings class videos to a whole new level! Choreographer Phil Wright and dancer Ashley Liai have been together eight-plus years, but she was still in total shock when he proposed to her mid-dance at Millennium Dance Complex earlier this week. Why? Well, the whole thing was unbelievably perfect.
In the dance industry, dancers don't always have a say in what they wear on their bodies. This can get tricky if you're asked to wear something that compromises your own personal values. So what should you do if you find yourself in this sticky situation? We sat down for a Q&A with "Dancing with the Stars" alumn Ashly Costa to answer that very question. Here's what she had to say about the options dancers have surrounding questionable costumes.
The groundwork for Erin Carpenter's company, Nude Barre, began when she was a teenager. At 16, she earned a spot in the residency program at The Kennedy Center in partnership with Dance Theatre of Harlem. "We were required to wear nude—as in, our actual skin tone—tights and shoes," she remembers. Carpenter brought her "sun tan" tights and a pair of pink ballet shoes with her, because that was all she could find. But she wasn't allowed in class because her dancewear didn't match her skin. "I was so embarrassed," she says. "I looked unprepared. I just didn't have the right nudes." Her teacher explained that the dancers dyed their tights and pancaked their shoes.
There are dancers and then there are DANCERS! Whitney Jensen, soloist at Norwegian National Ballet, is the latter. The former Boston Ballet principal can do it all. From contemporary to the classics this prima has the technical talent most bunheads dream about. Need proof? Look no further.
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's dance inducing hit, "Despacito," is so catchy it should probably come with a disclaimer that warns people of an uncontrollable itch to tap your feet or bob your head. Some might even feel inclined to go all out and break it down. Niana Guerrero is a prime example of "Despacito's" uncanny ability to unleash the red dressed emoji dancer within. 💃🏽 💃🏽