Ballet tribute to Patrick Swayze

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Patrick Swayze was a good friend to ballet.

His dancing prowess was evident in the 1987 film “Dirty Dancing,” but a contemporary ballet troupe, remembering him as not only a performer, but a board member of their collective, is dedicating one of the pieces in their upcoming performance at the Prospect Park band shell — a two-part choreography titled “Mercy” — to the late actor.

“[The dance] means a lot to me,” said choreographer and Complexion dance company co-founder Desmond Richardson. “Patrick really loved this particular music we’re using for the routine, and he loved this dance.”

Richardson was a close friend of Swayze and in his long career, he worked with the star in the film “One Last Dance” in 2003.

And for the last 18 years, Complexion has taken multiple dance styles and blended them into its own contemporary ballet image. The company breaks boundaries, choosing to ignore the rules and mix modern styles with contemporary urban movements.

This unique style has taken them around the world, performing in France, Korea, and Spain — and now, Brooklyn.

But just because they’re non-traditional doesn’t mean they don’t have real ballet chops.

The dance company demonstrates the raw power of ballet, classical or not, which Richardson says is just as physical, if not more so, than most sports.

“We’re athletes, but even more,” the veteran dancer said. “We use every muscle in our body, every tendon we can to dance.”

But they’re not just jocks, they’re a cutting edge artistic group.

The ballet company is renowned for their thought-provoking pieces they perform year-in and year-out, and for the free Aug. 9 performance at Celebrate Brooklyn, they’ve made a mixtape of some of their best pieces, titled “Moonlight,” “Choke,” “Testament,” and several others — and its sure to surprise.

“Expect the unexpected,” Richardson said.

“The show will provoke a thought; you can’t just read about it. This is something you have to go to and experience.”

Complexions Contemporary Ballet at Prospect Park band shell [Ninth Street and Prospect Park West in Park Slope. (718) 683-5600,]. Aug. 9, 7 pm. Free.

Updated 5:35 pm, July 9, 2018
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