‘Transcending boundaries’ in the arts: Dance Collective hosts Complexions Contemporary Ballet

In recent years, diversity and inclusion have become buzzwords in business circles. Companies and organizations hire individuals, schedule meetings, or create departments to put these terms into practice.

But since 1994, a globally renowned dance company has been doing diversity and inclusion in a different way, “reinventing” human movement from the ground up to integrate a mix of methods, styles, and cultures. In doing so, they create the conditions for individuals to unify by transcending boundaries. 

Complexions Contemporary Ballet is a globally renowned dance company, “reinventing” human movement from the ground up to integrate a mix of methods, styles, and cultures.

They’re known as Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and they’re coming to town this spring as part of Fort Wayne Dance Collective’s annual Guest Artist Residency program.

Input Fort Wayne sits down with Logan Bloir, Marketing & Communications Manager at Dance Collective, to learn more about the upcoming visit and his team’s work making the arts more inclusive.

Logan Bloir


IFW: Give us a little background on you and your connection to the Fort Wayne Dance Collective. 

LB: I have lived in Fort Wayne since 2018 when I began attending Indiana Tech. I have since graduated with my Bachelor’s of Science in Digital Graphics & Design and am currently pursuing my MBA with an emphasis in marketing, also from Indiana Tech. 

Although I am not a dancer myself, I enjoy watching dance and live movement arts. I got involved with FWDC as a marketing intern in December 2020, and I was overjoyed to see how the organization pivoted their programming to still serve the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In August 2021, I was promoted to my current position, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of such an amazing group of artists. 

Complexions Contemporary Ballet is a globally renowned dance company, “reinventing” human movement from the ground up to integrate a mix of methods, styles, and cultures.

IFW: For those who don’t know, give us a quick summary of Dance Collective’s mission and work in the Fort Wayne community, and how its work is intimately related to diversity and inclusion in the region.

LB: The mission of FWDC is to inspire and empower people of all ages and abilities through movement and rhythm. FWDC has four outreach programs that specifically do work in the Fort Wayne community and the Allen County area: Dance for Community, Dance in Education, Dance for Diverse Abilities, and Dance for Health. Our extensive outreach programming serves individuals who otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to the arts. These programs promote health and wellness while empowering constituents to explore movement, rhythm, and music in ways that are creative and stimulating. FWDC’s outreach students range in ages from preschool to senior citizens with a vast array of cognitive and physical capabilities. Our organization understands the importance of movement and rhythm, so we believe that everyone should have access to these arts. 

IFW: Tell us about your annual Guest Artist Residency program, and how that supports your mission.

LB: Every spring since 1989, FWDC brings a guest dance company to Fort Wayne to inspire, educate, enhance, and entertain the community. These guest companies reinforce our belief that dance is for everyone. By seeing a variety of demographics represented on stage, we hope to inspire and empower the Fort Wayne community to pursue and/or support the movement arts.

Complexions Contemporary Ballet is a globally renowned dance company, “reinventing” human movement from the ground up to integrate a mix of methods, styles, and cultures.

IFW: This year, Dance Collective is hosting Complexions Contemporary Ballet. What makes this group special?

LB: Complexions Contemporary Ballet represents one of the most recognized, diverse, inclusive, and respected performing groups in the world. The company’s foremost innovation is that dance should be about removing boundaries, not reinforcing them. Complexions transcends limiting traditions by creating an open, continually evolving form of dance that reflects the movement of our world, and all of its constituents, as an interrelated whole. 

Diversity, inclusivity, and accessibility are key values shared by both Complexions and FWDC. After a two-year hiatus in the Guest Artist Residency program due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we felt that Complexions was the perfect company to share their artistry with the Fort Wayne community.

Complexions Contemporary Ballet is a globally renowned dance company, “reinventing” human movement from the ground up to integrate a mix of methods, styles, and cultures.

IFW: How can the public interact with Complexions while they’re here?

LB: Complexions will be in Fort Wayne from Monday, May 2, to Wednesday, May 4, 2022. During their stay, the community will have the opportunity to engage with the company through master classes, a live performance, and a talkback. Master classes with Complexions will be from 6-7:30 p.m. on May 2 (beginning/intermediate) and May 3 (intermediate/advanced) at the Embassy Theatre, and are $25 each to attend. 

On May 4, Complexions will perform “Woke” and “Love Rocks” at the Embassy Theatre beginning at 7:30 p.m. Costs for performance tickets are $35 for adults, and $25 for students/veterans. Immediately following the performance, the audience will have the opportunity to attend a talkback with Complexions artists to learn more about their organization, performance pieces, and more. 

Complexions Contemporary Ballet is a globally renowned dance company, “reinventing” human movement from the ground up to integrate a mix of methods, styles, and cultures.

IFW: In what ways do you see Dance Collective, and the performing arts world, as a whole, evolving to be more diverse and inclusive?

LB: As Fort Wayne and the performing arts continue to diversify, FWDC aims to be representative of the communities that we serve. From our staff to our artists to our students, we embrace and celebrate unique perspectives, experiences, and capabilities. I would love to see FWDC and other performing arts brands continue to open up possibilities by furthering diversity, inclusivity, and accessibility. By awakening themselves to future possibilities, organizations can commit to broadening their reach to diverse audiences.

Complexions Contemporary Ballet is a globally renowned dance company, “reinventing” human movement from the ground up to integrate a mix of methods, styles, and cultures.

IFW: What do you see as some of the challenges to increased inclusivity in the performing arts in Fort Wayne, specifically, and what are opportunities for future growth?
 
LB: A major challenge we see in the performing arts is doubt. Many individuals self-limit themselves by believing that they do not have the proper skill set to become a dancer. FWDC continues to be a safe space for all individuals to express themselves in an environment that is supportive and judgment-free. Our non-competitive and experimental atmosphere has allowed students to creatively learn while fostering a love for dance and the movement arts.

 

Read more articles by Kara Hackett.

Kara Hackett is a Fort Wayne native fascinated by what's next for northeast Indiana how it relates to other up-and-coming places around the world. After working briefly in New York City and Indianapolis, she moved back to her hometown where she has discovered interesting people, projects, and innovations shaping the future of this place—and has been writing about them ever since. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @karahackett.