Desmond Richardson: What My Teacher Taught Me
November 8, 2013

As teachers and dancers, we’ve all fallen victim to needling perfectionism that can derail our confidence, and Desmond Richardson is no exception. Although he’s now co-artistic director of the hugely successful Complexions Contemporary Ballet, he was once a freshman at the High School for Performing Arts in New York City, obsessed with comparing himself to others. Richardson’s Graham technique teacher, Penny Frank, helped him concentrate on more important things.

“I was such a perfectionist—I would beat myself up because I didn’t have what others had. I was seeing all of these kids who had come from the School of American Ballet, and I was a kid from Queens who had grown up on street dance. Penny told me it was a waste of energy to focus on that. She told me to instead concentrate on getting the information–the proper technique for all the styles of dance I was learning—and pay attention to that.”

Complexions will perform at The Joyce Theater in New York, November 19-December 1.

Photo by Jae Man Joo

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