When Stars Align

Wendy Whelan and Desmond Richardson partner for a special performance.
Published in the April/May 2012 issue.

Photos by Jim Lafferty


It’s hard to find two more distinctive dancers than New York City Ballet prima ballerina Wendy Whelan and Complexions Contemporary Ballet star Desmond Richardson. Dancing together for the first time, Whelan and Richardson will debut a new Dwight Rhoden duet commissioned by the New Orleans Ballet Association in honor of Richardson’s last season touring with Complexions. Pointe shot the two dancers as they rehearsed this winter in the New York City Center studios. The new piece, set to music by the popular Nicholas Payton Quartet, will premiere at New Orleans’ Mahalia Jackson Theater on April 21.

“Wendy is a giving person with a light spirit. She brings that into the room, along with an extreme focus and deep understanding of technique. She takes material home and breathes life into it.” —Desmond Richardson

Whelan and Richardson

Richardson and choreographer Dwight Rhoden are longtime collaborators as co-artistic directors of Complexions. Here, Rhoden tweaks sections of the duet. “Dwight wants heart and soul, not automatons,” says Richardson.

“The duet, which is very sexy, is about a man, a woman and their relationship as two parts of a whole. It’s about puzzle pieces fitting together.” —Wendy Whelan

Whelan and Rhoden

Whelan and Richardson