Skip to main content

Desmond Richardson is co-founder and co-artistic director at Complexions Contemporary Ballet. He hosted a master class with dance students in February 2015. Photos | Christopher Rolinson

A professional dancer with more than 30 years of experience, Desmond Richardson (above) was a principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, American Ballet Theater and Ballet Frankfurt. Richardson has danced on stages all over the world, including The Met and Paris Opera, and performed with Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna and Aretha Franklin.

The Department of Dance welcomed Desmond Richardson - co-founder and co-artistic director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet - to host a master class with students, Feb. 6 in the George Rowland White Performance Center.

"For me, it's all about giving back; I had so many teachers who encouraged me and I love when I have the opportunity to teach," said Richardson. "My message to the students is to focus on your passion and let it drive you to your heart's desire."

Sounds of live drumming coupled with Richardson's cues were heard during the master class as he taught his contemporary ballet repertoire.

Sophomore dance major Harris Turner says he enjoyed not only dancing with Desmond but also having the chance to meet him in person.

"Getting the chance to work with Desmond was awesome. I enjoyed talking to him after class to learn more about what life as a dancer is like in the real world," said Turner. "A valuable lesson I took from this class is the importance of the clarity of movement in the legs and feet."

Jacob Frazier, a junior dance major, encourages students to take advantage and participate in these types of opportunities on campus.

"Point Park has presented me with so many chances to train with professionals who help to prepare me for a career in dance," said Frazier. "I would recommend Point Park's dance program to a prospective student because it is highly physical and versatile."

When asked his advice for students considering a career in dance, Richardson offered his suggestions for success.

"Be proactive. Be determined," said Richardson. "Investigate, research and know who is around you and who came before you so that you can learn from your past and create your future."


Desmond Richardson Master Class


More About: dance, master class, ballet