ACADEMY TEAM

Dwight Rhoden

DWIGHT RHODEN Founding Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer

Desmond Richardson Headshot_edited

DESMOND RICHARDSON Founding Artistic Director

Screen%20Shot%202020-05-16%20at%207.38_edited

MEG PAUL Associate Artistic Director, Complexions Contemporary Ballet Director, Complexions Academy

Monica Montaño

MONICA MONTANO Academy Manager

natiya-big-_edited

NATIYA KEZEVADZE Master Faculty

Jae Man Joo 2022

JAE MAN JOO Master Faculty

09.18.21 Complexions Branding Marketing 3624

JILLIAN DAVIS Master Faculty

complexions Proof-3559_edited

LARISSA GERSZKE Faculty

Terk Lewis 1_edited

TERK LEWIS Faculty

COMPLEXIONS Headshots-11_edited

TIM STICKNEY Faculty

Kelly Marsh IV_edited

KELLY MARSH Faculty

Kelly Sneddon-Tilt_edited

KELLY SNEDDON Faculty

Desmond Richardson

Founding Artistic Director

Desmond Richardson was the first African-American principal dancer of American Ballet Theatre and is hailed by The New York Times as one of the greatest dancers of his time. Nominated for a Tony Award for his role in the original Broadway cast of Fosse and deemed a standout in the Tony-Award winning production After Midnight, Richardson is highly esteemed by the concert dance and American theater community. He appeared in Twyla Tharp’s Broadway production Movin’ Out, and had his singing debut in Burt Bacharach’s and Hal David’s The Look Of Love, choreographed by Ann Reinking and Scott Ellis. 
 

Richardson has appeared on celebrated stages across the world, namely The Metropolitan Opera, The Kennedy Center, Paris Opera, The Bolshoi Theatre, The Mariinsky Theatre, The State Kremlin Palace, Teatro Massimo, and Teatro alla Scala. He has been a member and invited guests of prestigious companies including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Frankfurt Ballet, Royal Swedish Opera Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Washington Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet, to name a few. 
 

Richardson, a Young Arts Finalist and Presidential Scholar, has received numerous awards including the Dance Magazine Award, Capezio Award, Ailey Apex Award, L.A. Ovation Award, Bessie Award, YoungArts Alumni Award, and most recently the Roosevelt “Rosey” Thompson Award presented by the Presidential Scholars Foundation.  In the spring of 2109, Richardson received an honorary doctorate degree from The University of North Carolina School of the Arts in recognition of his extensive contributions to the field of dance.
 

Richardson has been a celebrity guest performer and choreographer for productions across media such as the American Music Awards, the Academy Awards, City Center’s Encores! series, Italy’s AMICI, and international franchises of So You Think You Can Dance. Richardson has been featured by famed artists such as Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna, Elton John, and Aretha Franklin, and he appears in celebrated films such as the Oscar-Award winning Chicago, Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe, and the recent independent film, Fall to Rise. He has worked with fashion icon, Tom Ford, Chic’s Nile Rodgers, and recently contributed to Grammy-Award winning Jill Scott’s video Back Together, which features dancers from COMPLEXIONS. Internationally and domestically, he is a master teacher for dance programs such as the New York’s All Stars Project, YoungArts Miami, United Way, The Pulse, NYCDA, and ASH. He served as co-creative director and choreographer with David Monn for the Park Avenue Armory Gala Masquerade. Richardson is currently a guest artist in residence at USC’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance and is the visiting adjunct professor of dance at Southern Methodist University. 

Dwight Rhoden

Founding Artistic Director, Resident Choreographer

Dwight Rhoden has established a remarkably wide-ranging career, earning distinction from The New York Times as “one of the most sought out choreographers of the day.” 

A native of Dayton, Ohio, Rhoden began dancing at age 17. Rhoden has performed with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Les Ballet Jazz De Montreal, and as a principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In 1994, Rhoden and Desmond Richardson founded COMPLEXIONS Contemporary Ballet. They have brought their unique brand of contemporary dance to the world for over two decades. Under Rhoden’s direction, COMPLEXIONS has become a dance institution high in demand, as a center for innovation and cutting edge programming. 

Rhoden’s choreography has been the lynchpin of the development of COMPLEXIONS repertory.“Musicality, innovation, purpose, consistency, brilliant use of stage space and the ability to tell a story—all these qualities make [Rhoden] one of today's elect choreographers”(Los Angeles Times). Since 1994, Rhoden has created over 80 ballets for COMPLEXIONS, as well as for numerous other companies, including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Arizona Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, BalletMet, Dance Theater of Harlem, Colorado Ballet, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Joffrey Ballet, Miami City Ballet, New York City Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theater, Pennsylvania Ballet, PHILADANCO!, Mariinsky Ballet, Minneapolis Dance Theater, Phoenix Dance Company, Sacramento Ballet, Oakland Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, The Washington Ballet, and Zenon Dance Company, among others. 

Rhoden has also directed and choreographed performances for shows across a range of media, including So You Think You Can Dance, E! Entertainment’s Tribute to Style, Amici, and Cirque Du Soleil’s Zumanity, and he appeared in the feature film One Last Dance. He has collaborated with a number of celebrated artists, including Prince, Lenny Kravitz, Kelly Clarkson, ELEW, David Rozenblatt, Nicholas Payton, The Drifters, Paul Simon, Billy Strayhorn, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, U2, The Turtle Creek Chorus, and Patrick Swayze. 

Rhoden is a recipient of various honors and awards including The New York Foundation for the Arts Award, The Choo San Goh Award for Choreography, and The Ailey School’s Apex Award. Rhoden received an honorary doctorate degree from the Boston Conservatory in recognition of his extensive contributions to the field of dance.  In 2020, Rhoden will premiere 2 new works for the company’s New York City season at The Joyce Theater.

Meg Paul

Academy Director

Meg Paul brings a wealth of significant professional experience in classical and contemporary ballet and Broadway performance, choreography, and teaching artistry. Her career spans four decades and encompasses a wide range of national and international experience in performance, choreography, directing, teaching, program development, community engagement, and arts management.

 

During her performing career, Paul worked closely with important dance pioneers in the field and performed master works from the repertoire and artistic direction of Gerald Arpino, Robert Joffrey, Twyla Tharp and Dwight Rhoden, to works by Petipa, Ashton, Nijinsky, Massine, Balanchine, Forsythe, and Alonzo King. She was a principal dancer with The Joffrey Ballet/NYC and has extensive national and international touring credits. Paul performed both leading roles and served on the creative team and as dance captain for Twyla Tharp’s Tony award-winning Broadway musical, Movin’ Out. Her awards include The Princess Grace Award, winner of The International Dance Competition of the Americas, Detroit Renaissance Hero Award, Sue Nine Endowment for Faculty Achievement Award, Wayne State University’s C. F.P.C Teaching Award, and the Copperfoot Award.

 

As Director of Dance with the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, Paul curated and directed National City Stars of Ballet and Broadway, which engaged hundreds of local performers and pre-professionals to train and perform with ballet and Broadway professionals. For her work on National City Stars of Ballet and Broadway, Paul was honored as a recipient of the Detroit Renaissance Hero Award by the Detroit Free Press. She curated, directed, and produced Music Hall’s annual 313 Choreography Expo highlighting Detroit’s creative impact with other major cities. 313 Choreography Expo served as an incubator and career launchpad for many local Detroit artists and companies while fostering artistic collaborations, dance education, and community engagement.

 

Currently, Paul is Director of Dance for the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance, Senior Lecturer, Recruitment Coordinator for Dance, and serves as BFA advisor. Since her full-time appointment in 2010, Paul has curated and directed the Complexions Detroit Summer Intensive at Wayne State University. Concurrently, Paul serves as ballet master for Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Academy Director at Complexions Contemporary Ballet Academy.​​

James Giacopelli

Co-Founder/CEO

James is the CEO and Co-Founder of Complexions Academy LLC.  James serves on several private and non-profit Company Boards. Additionally, he is a Partner at Giacopelli Accounting and Tax Service, LLC where he is an Enrolled Agent specializing in small business development and tax services. James is experienced in handling all manners of accounting and is familiar with Federal and State Accounting and Tax Laws. His work in finance, advertising, fashion, the arts, and entertainment throughout the United States has developed his insight and instinct on monetary and business affairs. As a volunteer for the Internal Revenue Service, James aided the elderly and advocated for the underprivileged by handling their tax needs.  Beyond his work in business affairs, James devoted over a decade to youth athletics, serving as the CEO for Simple Soccer in Flushing, NY and as the Director of Operations for Rye Youth Soccer, in Rye, NY. In these roles, he was a critical component for running one of the largest and most successful youth organizations in Westchester County. During this time he contributing as a coach and mentor to the youth participants. 

Monica Montano

Academy Manager

Monica started her dance training in ballet, contemporary and jazz in Mexico. She studied at Dance Space Center (NYC) and is a certified Simonson Teacher. Monica completed her undergraduate studies as a Contemporary Dance Educator at the National School of Dance “Nellie y Gloria Campobello” in Mexico, and is currently finishing her graduate degree in Arts Management and Cultural Policies at the Universidad Panamericana. She has worked for the National Dance Company of Mexico in the programming and marketing department; as dance consultant for the National Center for the Arts in Mexico City; as Special Program Coordinator for Mexico City Ballet; and many years as International Director of the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City. Monica has also worked with the Limón Dance Company and Dance Now! Miami as tour manager and liaison in Mexico. Ms. Montano co-directs Scouting Dance Mexico, an audition event that helps dance students access diverse dance education opportunities internationally. 

Natiya Kezevadze

Master Faculty

Natiya Kezevadze started her training in Classical Ballet at V. Chabukiani State Ballet School in Tbilisi, Georgia. At age thirteen, she was afforded the privilege of being accepted to the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet on full scholarship and moved to St-Petersburg, Russia. While at the Academy, Natiya performed on the celebrated Mariinsky Stage in ballets such as Swan Lake, La Bayadere, La Sylphide, Chopiniana, Nutcracker, Giselle, Legend of Love to name a few. Ms.Kezevadze graduated from professor T. Udalenkova receiving a BFA and was invited to join Boris Eifman Dance Company. Natiya was also a soloist with Ballet Classic, Saint, Petersburg, Russia and moved to NYC in 2004 to further pursue her performing career. In NYC she continued her training with many notable dance masters including Milton Myers, Donald Byrd, Dwight Rhoden, Desmond Richardson, Nathan Trice, Elisa Monte, Joe Lanteri and numerous others. Natiya has appeared in New York International Festival’s “Icarus”, Ballet Builder’s “Passing Thru”, Eglevsky Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” and “Antigone”. She was also a featured model in a promotional video “Entropy” for Trienawear Dancewear. In 2005 Natiya joined Forces of Nature Dance Theater Company, under the direction of Abdel Salaam, where she continues to dance today. Additionally, Ms.Kezevadze became a member of Complexions Contemporary Ballet (CCB) in 2007 and had the amazing opportunity to tour worldwide performing widely acclaimed works by Dwight Rhoden, Desmond Richardson, Igal Perry, Jae Man Joo. In 2012 Natiya and her husband, Ilia, welcomed the birth of their daughter Vivi. Ms. Kezevadze left life on the road with Complexions to focus on motherhood. She then found time to embrace her love teaching both classical and contemporary ballet. Ms. Kezevadze has the pleasure of teaching for The Complexions Intensive Program, the Joffrey Experience in NYC and the Broadway Dance Center. She has also acted as the assistant choreographer with the New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute and for Dwight Rhoden’s original international production of the Great Gatsby Ballet. 


Today, Natiya is honored to continue performing with CCB as an artist in residence as well as collaborating in various dance projects.

Larissa Gerszke

Faculty

Larissa Gerszke is a Canadian Ballerina. She is sponsored by Gaynor Minden pointe shoes and is represented by Clear Talent Group. For 7 seasons, Ms. Gerszke performed in NYC's renowned Complexions Contemporary Ballet company. She is featured in publications such as the New York Times, Pointe Magazine, Dance Spirit Magazine andthe Jerusalem Post.

Critically acclaimed for "her impressive musicality which is tied to a powerful body that crackles with energy" (— Bachtrack.com), Ms. Gerszke has performed on prestigious stages for audiences worldwide. She appears in music videos for artists Jill Scott, & Jennah Bell, as well as advertisements for the multinational make-up brand, Shiseido Cosmetics. She performed in the CBS TV broadcast of the "43rd Kennedy Center Honors", which celebrated the artistic legacies of Debbie Allen, Joan Baez, Garth Brooks, Midori, & Dick Van Dyke. In her early career as a dance competitor, Ms. Gerszke competed in elite competitions ranging from American, Canadian & British dance circuits.

As a passionate dance educator, Ms. Gerszke is a guest lecturer at Fordham University, & Penn State University. She has taught master classes & intensives across the United States, Canada & the Bahamas. Her life's work is in sharing a modern day relevance of the 16th century art of Ballet.

Jae Man Joo

Master Faculty

Korean born artist, recipient of Princess Grace Choreographer Award in 2009. He was a Principal Dancer at Complexions Contemporary Ballet & Ballet Hispanico. Joo has worked with Complexions for over 19 years, as the Associate Artistic Director (2011- 2018), Ballet Master (2011- 2019) and as Artist in Residence. In 1996 he received the Best Artist Award from the Bagnolet International Dance Festival in Paris, France. As a resident choreographer for Complexions, Joo created works such as "Goodnight", "Recur", "Flight" ,"Surface", amongst others, all of them premiered at Joyce Theater in New York City. He created "CIRCULAR" for AILEY II Company in 2016, and has continued to create for Marymount Dance, Ailey School, Point Park Dance, Joffrey Ballet School, PCDC and more. In 2018 Joo world premiered "INTERMEZZO"(Pärt & Bach) for Wise Ballet Theater in Seoul, Korea. Joo has worked with Shen Wei, Zvi Gotheiner, Igal Perry and Jessica Lang, amongst others.
In 2017 and 2019 Jacob's Pillow invited him to create new work: "CANVAS" and "Dive & Fold" respectively, which where performed at the prestigious Jacob's Pillow Inside/Out stage. 

Jillian Davis

Master Faculty

Jillian Davis is a Kutztown, PA native, and began her ballet training at the age of 3. She studied extensively with Risa Kaplowitz and Susan Jaffe at Princeton Dance and Theater Studio in Princeton, NJ. Jillian has attended San Francisco Ballet, School of American Ballet, as well as Pacific Northwest Ballet and LINES Ballet, both on scholarship. In 2013, she developed the Jillian Davis Dance Project, her choreography commissioned by Missouri Valley College. Her piece, Tiel, was featured at Jennifer Muller’s Hatched Series and was selected as a finalist for Rider University’s Emerging Choreographers Showcase. Jillian has been a company member with Complexions since 2014. She has been part of several Dwight Rhoden world premieres, including Headspace, Strum, Gutter Glitter, Star Dust, and Bach 25. She has also performed installation works by Desmond Richardson and an excerpt of Approximate Sonata by William Forsthye.